Liver magnetic resonance elastography and fat fraction in pediatric patients with cystic fibrosis versus healthy children


Pediatric Radiology, vol.54, no.2, pp.250-259, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 54 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00247-023-05832-1
  • Journal Name: Pediatric Radiology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CINAHL
  • Page Numbers: pp.250-259
  • Keywords: Children, Cystic fibrosis, Liver, Magnetic resonance elastography, Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Liver involvement is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). While liver biopsy is the gold standard for demonstrating involvement, its invasiveness prompts a search for noninvasive alternatives. Objective: To evaluate liver involvement in pediatric patients with CF (versus healthy controls) using magnetic resonance (MR) elastography/spectroscopy and to correlate the imaging findings with clinical/laboratory characteristics. Materials and methods: This was a single-center, prospective cross-sectional study conducted between April 2020 and March 2022 in patients with CF versus healthy controls. Patients with CF were divided into two subgroups: those with CF-related liver disease and those without. MR images were acquired on a 1.5-tesla machine. Kilopascal (kPa) values were derived from processing MR elastography images. MR spectroscopy was used to measure liver fat fraction, as an indication of hepatosteatosis. Groups were compared using either the Student’s t test or the Mann‒Whitney U test. The chi-square test or Fisher’s exact test were used to compare qualitative variables. Results: Fifty-one patients with CF (12 ± 3.3 years, 32 boys) and 24 healthy volunteers (11.1 ± 2.4 years, 15 boys) were included in the study. Median liver stiffness (P=0.003) and fat fraction (P=0.03) were higher in the CF patients than in the controls. Median liver stiffness values were higher in CF patients with CF-related liver disease than in those without CF-related liver disease (P=0.002). Liver stiffness values of CF patients with high alanine aminotransferase (ALT), high gamma-glutamyl transferase, and thrombocytopenia were found to be higher than those without (P=0.004, P<0.001, P<0.001, respectively). Only the high ALT group showed a high fat fraction (P=0.002). Conclusions: Patients with CF had higher liver stiffness than the control group, and patients with CF-related liver disease had higher liver stiffness than both the CF patients without CF-related liver disease and the control group. Patients with CF had a higher fat fraction than the control group. Noninvasive assessment of liver involvement using MR elastography/spectroscopy can support the diagnosis of CF-related liver disease and the follow-up of patients with CF. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]