Effect of Hepatic Inflammation in Chronic Hepatitis C Infection on Fibrosis Assessment by Arrival Time Parametric Imaging

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Arrival time parametric imaging (At-PI) in contrast-enhanced ultrasonography is useful for assessing liver fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection. The study aimed to elucidate the effect of hepatic inflammation on At-PI efficiency. Subjects were 159 CHC patients who underwent contrast-enhanced ultrasonography immediately before liver biopsy. Ultrasound contrast agent was injected, and contrast dynamics of the S5 to S6 region of the liver and right kidney were recorded for 40 seconds. The At-PI of liver parenchyma blood flow was generated using saved video clips. Hepatic blood flow during the first 5 seconds after starting contrast injection was displayed in red and that after another 5 seconds was displayed in yellow. The ratio of red (ROR) in At-PI images of the entire liver was measured with ImageJ. Ratio of red values of livers with different activity grades (0–3) were compared for each fibrosis (F) stage as determined by biopsy. Correlations of ROR with alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels were analyzed using a linear regression line from the distribution map. Comparison of ROR for different activity grades in each F stage revealed no significant differences. Correlation coefficient R (P value) for ALT and ROR was R = −0.0094 (P = 0.43) at F0 to F1, R = −0.186 (P = 0.21) at F2, R = −0.233 (P = 0.27) at F3, and R = 0.041 (P = 0.89) at F4, with no significant correlation between ALT and ROR in any F stage. Hepatic inflammation in CHC infection does not affect At-PI diagnostic accuracy.

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