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A comparison of transient elastography with acoustic radiation force impulse elastography for the assessment of liver health in patients with chronic hepatitis C: Baseline results from the TRACER study.

BACKGROUND: Liver stiffness measurements can be used to assess liver fibrosis and can be acquired by transient elastography using FibroScan® and with Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse imaging. The study aimed to establish liver stiffness measurement scores using FibroScan® and Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse in a chronic hepatitis C cohort and to explore the correlation and agreement between the scores and the factors influencing agreement.

METHODS: Patients had liver stiffness measurements acquired with FibroScan® (right lobe of liver) and Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse (right and left lobe of liver). We used Spearman's correlation to explore the relationship between FibroScan® and Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse scores. A Bland-Altman plot was used to evaluate bias between the mean percentage differences of FibroScan® and Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse scores. Univariable and multivariable analyses were used to assess how factors such as body mass index, age and gender influenced the agreement between liver stiffness measurements.

RESULTS: Bland-Altman showed the average (95% CI) percentage difference between FibroScan® and Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse scores was 27.5% (17.8, 37.2), p  < 0.001. There was a negative correlation between the average and percentage difference of the FibroScan® and Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse scores ( r (95% CI) = -0.41 (-0.57, -0.21), p  < 0.001), thus showing that percentage difference gets smaller for greater FibroScan® and Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse scores. Body mass index was the biggest influencing factor on differences between FibroScan® and Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse ( r  = 0.12 (0.01, 0.23), p  = 0.05). Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse scores at segment 5/8 and the left lobe showed good correlation ( r (95% CI) = 0.83 (0.75, 0.89), p  < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: FibroScan® and Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse had similar predictive values for the assessment of liver stiffness in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection; however, the level of agreement varied across lower and higher scores.

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