Korean J Radiol.  2021 Jul;22(7):1077-1086. 10.3348/kjr.2020.1262.

Quantitative Ultrasound Radiofrequency Data Analysis for the Assessment of Hepatic Steatosis in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging Proton Density Fat Fraction as the Reference Standard

  • 1Department of Radiology, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Institute of Radiation Medicine, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department Radiology, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea


To investigate the diagnostic performance of quantitative ultrasound (US) parameters for the assessment of hepatic steatosis in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) using magnetic resonance imaging proton density fat fraction (MRI-PDFF) as the reference standard.
Materials and Methods
In this single-center prospective study, 120 patients with clinically suspected NAFLD were enrolled between March 2019 and January 2020. The participants underwent US examination for radiofrequency (RF) data acquisition and chemical shift-encoded liver MRI for PDFF measurement. Using the RF data analysis, the attenuation coefficient (AC) based on tissue attenuation imaging (TAI) (AC-TAI) and scatter-distribution coefficient (SC) based on tissue scatterdistribution imaging (TSI) (SC-TSI) were measured. The correlations between the quantitative US parameters (AC and SC) and MRI-PDFF were evaluated using Pearson correlation coefficients. The diagnostic performance of AC-TAI and SC-TSI for detecting hepatic fat contents of ≥ 5% (MRI-PDFF ≥ 5%) and ≥ 10% (MRI-PDFF ≥ 10%) were assessed using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. The significant clinical or imaging factors associated with AC and SC were analyzed using linear regression analysis.
The participants were classified based on MRI-PDFF: < 5% (n = 38), 5–10% (n = 23), and ≥ 10% (n = 59). AC-TAI and SC-TSI were significantly correlated with MRI-PDFF (r = 0.659 and 0.727, p < 0.001 for both). For detecting hepatic fat contents of ≥ 5% and ≥ 10%, the areas under the ROC curves of AC-TAI were 0.861 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.786– 0.918) and 0.835 (95% CI: 0.757–0.897), and those of SC-TSI were 0.964 (95% CI: 0.913–0.989) and 0.935 (95% CI: 0.875–0.972), respectively. Multivariable linear regression analysis showed that MRI-PDFF was an independent determinant of AC-TAI and SC-TSI.
AC-TAI and SC-TSI derived from quantitative US RF data analysis yielded a good correlation with MRI-PDFF and provided good performance for detecting hepatic steatosis and assessing its severity in NAFLD.


Ultrasonography; Liver; Fatty liver; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Quantitative imaging
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