Estimating of hepatic fat amount using MRI proton density fat fraction in a real practice setting

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Abstract

The recently developed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) proton density fat fraction (PDFF) allows measurement of the fat in all segments of hepatic tissue. However, it is time consuming and inconvenient to measure each segment repeatedly. Moreover, volume of each segment also should be adjusted with arithmetic mean of the selected segments when total amount of liver fat is estimated. Therefore, we try to develop a clinically-relevant and applicable method of estimating hepatic fat in PDFF image.

A total of 164 adults were enrolled. We addressed the measurement frequency and segment selection to determine the optimal method of measuring intrahepatic fat. Total hepatic fat was estimated by the weighted mean of each segment reflecting their respective segmental volumes. We designed 2 models. In Model 1, we determined the segment order by which the mean was closest to the whole weighted mean. In Model 2, we determined the segment order by which the arithmetic mean of the selected segments was closest to the whole weighted mean.

Fat fraction (FF) was most important risk factor of hepatic heterogeneity in multivariable analysis (β = 0.534, P < .001). In severe fatty liver (FF > 22.1%), intrahepatic fat variability was 2.47% (1.16–6.26%). The arithmetic mean total intrahepatic FF was 12.66%. But the weighted mean that applied to each segmental volume was 12.90%. In Model 1, arithmetic mean of segments 4 and 5 was closest to the total estimated hepatic fat amount. However, when we added segment 8, the mean of segments 4, 5, and 8 was significantly different from the estimated total hepatic fat amount (P = .0021). In Model 2, arithmetic mean of segments 4 and 5 was closest to the total estimated hepatic fat amount. There was a significant reduction in variability between segment 4 and segments 4 and 5 (P < .0001).

Averaging the mean hepatic FF of segments 4 and 5 was the most reasonable method for estimating total intrahepatic fat in practice.

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