Hepatic ADC map as an adjunct to conventional abdominal MRI to evaluate hepatic fibrotic and clinical cirrhotic severity in biliary atresia patients

Steven Shinn-Forng Peng, Yung-Ming Jeng, Wen-Ming Hsu, Justin Cheng-Ta Yang, Ming-Chih Ho
European Radiology 2015, 25 (10): 2992-3002

OBJECTIVES: Hepatic apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values and ADC-related indices were correlated with the Mayo risk score for primary biliary cirrhosis (MRSPBC) and METAVIR scores of liver specimens to determine the clinical and pathological significance of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWMRI).

METHODS: Thirty-two patients with biliary atresia (BA; mean age 461 days, range 11-4616 days) received magnetic resonance examinations from March 2009 to August 2013. A free-breathing DWMRI sequence was performed with the single-shot echo-planar imaging technique with b = 0 and 500 s/mm(2) in all 32 BA patients and 24 controls. We used the ordinal logistic regression test and Spearman rank correlation test to analyse the relationships between the MRSPBC and METAVIR fibrosis scores and right liver-to-psoas ADC ratios (LTPARs).

RESULTS: BA patients had significantly lower LTPARs in both hepatic lobes than controls (p < 0.01). Right LTPARs, showing moderate intraobserver agreement (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.736) and interobserver reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.659), were negatively correlated with MRSPBC and METAVIR fibrosis scores (R(2) = 0.398, p = 0.024 and R(2) = 0.628, p < 0.001, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Right LTPARs may be used for long-term follow-up of cirrhosis severity in BA patients.

KEY POINTS: • Hepatic ADC values by DWI correlates well with clinical/pathologic fibrosis scores • Periodic, non-invasive, quantitative imaging follow-up of patients with biliary cirrhosis is feasible • Information on cirrhosis severity could help decide on management options in children with BA • ADC values may be useful in this regard.

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