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Two-point Dixon and six-point Dixon magnetic resonance techniques in the detection, quantification and grading of hepatic steatosis.

BACKGROUND: Hepatic steatosis is a very common problem worldwide.

AIM: To assess the performance of two- and six-point Dixon magnetic resonance (MR) techniques in the detection, quantification and grading of hepatic steatosis.

METHODS: A single-center retrospective study was performed in 62 patients with suspected parenchymal liver disease. MR sequences included two-point Dixon, six-point Dixon, MR spectroscopy (MRS) and MR elastography. Fat fraction (FF) estimates on the Dixon techniques were compared to the MRS-proton density FF (PDFF). Statistical tests used included Pearson's correlation and receiver operating characteristic.

RESULTS: FF estimates on the Dixon techniques showed excellent correlation (≥ 0.95) with MRS-PDFF, and excellent accuracy [area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) ≥ 0.95] in: (1) Detecting steatosis; and (2) Grading severe steatosis, ( P < 0.001). In iron overload, two-point Dixon was not evaluable due to confounding T2* effects. FF estimates on six-point Dixon vs MRS-PDFF showed a moderate correlation (0.82) in iron overload vs an excellent correlation (0.97) without iron overload, ( P < 0.03). The accuracy of six-point Dixon in grading mild steatosis improved (AUROC: 0.59 to 0.99) when iron overload cases were excluded. The excellent correlation (> 0.9) between the Dixon techniques vs MRS-PDFF did not change in the presence of liver fibrosis ( P < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: Dixon techniques performed satisfactorily for the evaluation of hepatic steatosis but with exceptions.

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