Ultrasonography.  2021 Jan;40(1):136-146. 10.14366/usg.20042.

Quantitative ultrasound radiofrequency data analysis for the assessment of hepatic steatosis using the controlled attenuation parameter as a reference standard

  • 1Department of Radiology, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Radiology and Research Institute of Radiology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Radiology, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Radiology, ChungAng University Hospital, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


This study was aimed to investigate the value of quantitative ultrasound (US) parameters from radiofrequency (RF) data analysis for assessing hepatic steatosis, using controlled attenuation parameter (CAP)-based steatosis grades as the reference standard.
We analyzed 243 participants with both B-mode liver US with RF data acquisition and CAP measurements. On B-mode US images, hepatic steatosis was visually scored (0/1/2/3, none/mild/moderate/severe), and the hepatorenal index (HRI) was calculated. From the RF data analysis, the tissue scatter-distribution imaging parameter (TSI-p) and tissue attenuation imaging parameter (TAI-p) of the liver parenchyma were measured. US parameters were correlated with CAP-based steatosis grades (S0/1/2/3, none/mild/moderate/severe) and their diagnostic performance was evaluated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Multivariate linear regression analysis was performed to identify determinants of TSI-p and TAI-p.
Participants were classified as having S0 (n=152), S1 (n=54), S2 (n=14), and S3 (n=23) on CAP measurements. TSI-p and TAI-p were significantly correlated with steatosis grades (ρ =0.593 and ρ=-0.617, P<0.001 for both). For predicting ≥S1, ≥S2, and S3, the areas under the ROC curves (AUCs) of TSI-p were 0.827/0.914/0.917; TAI-p, 0.844/0.914/0.909; visual scores, 0.659/0.778/0.794; and HRI, 0.629/0.751/0.759, respectively. TSI-p and TAI-p had significantly higher AUCs than did visual scores or HRI for ≥S1 or ≥S2 (P≤0.003). In the multivariate analysis, the transient elastography-based fibrosis grade (P=0.034) and steatosis grade (P<0.001) were independent determinants of TSI-p, while steatosis grade (P<0.001) was an independent determinant of TAI-p.
TSI-p and TAI-p derived from US RF data may be useful for detecting hepatic steatosis and assessing its severity.


Ultrasonography; Liver; Fatty liver
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