Ultrasonic Sound Speed Estimation for Liver Fat Quantification: A Review by the AIUM-RSNA QIBA Pulse-Echo Quantitative Ultrasound Initiative.
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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a significant cause of diffuse liver disease, morbidity and mortality worldwide. Early and accurate diagnosis of NALFD is critical to identify patients at risk of disease progression. Liver biopsy is the current gold standard for diagnosis and prognosis. However, a non-invasive diagnostic tool is desired because of the high cost and risk of complications of tissue sampling. Medical ultrasound is a safe, inexpensive and widely available imaging tool for diagnosing NAFLD. Emerging sonographic tools to quantitatively estimate hepatic fat fraction, such as tissue sound speed estimation, are likely to improve diagnostic accuracy, precision and reproducibility compared with existing qualitative and semi-quantitative techniques. Various pulse-echo ultrasound speed of sound estimation methodologies have been investigated, and some have been recently commercialized. We review state-of-the-art in vivo speed of sound estimation techniques, including their advantages, limitations, technical sources of variability, biological confounders and existing commercial implementations. We report the expected range of hepatic speed of sound as a function of liver steatosis and fibrosis that may be encountered in clinical practice. Ongoing efforts seek to quantify sound speed measurement accuracy and precision to inform threshold development around meaningful differences in fat fraction and between sequential measurements.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Ultrasound & Optic Imag
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Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, 2023, pp. S0301-5629(23)00217-X -
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