Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a liver disorder that continues to consume the lives of many Americans. The NAFLD is often characterized by excessive amounts of fat in the liver cells, and it is feared by many because there are no symptoms to begin with. The normal procedure for detecting advanced fibrosis is to perform a liver biopsy, but the procedure is considered to be quite dangerous as it can cause internal bleeding and even death. Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine conducted a prospective study where they operated two types of MRE technologies: 2D MRE and a novel 3D version. Both MRE technologies were proven to be highly accurate and applaudable in diagnosing advanced fibrosis, with the 3D providing additional capabilities in some patients.
The most accurate non-invasive method to detect advanced fibrosis is the 3D MRE. There are other noninvasive methods in existence, but they are not as efficient and accurate as the 2D or 3D MRE. For example, ultra-based techniques will not work as well, especially with obese patients.
The MRE possesses the capabilities of an MRI, which allows it to propagate mechanical shear waves in liver tissue. The 2D version is commercially available at the moment, but the 3D version still continues to be in demand. These findings suggest that MRE could be used to enroll patients with advanced fibrosis into screening programs for cirrhosis as well as enrollment into clinical trials aimed at reversing fibrosis in the setting of advanced fibrosis.