Hepatic MRI for fat quantitation: Its relationship to fat morphology, diagnosis, and ultrasound

Mark Fishbein*, Fernando Castro, Sailaja Cheruku, Shaily Jain, Brian Webb, Theodore Gleason, W. Ross Stevens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Scopus citations


Purpose: The value of MRI and ultrasound in quantifying hepatic steatosis is assessed and the results compared with those obtained by liver biopsies. Methods: A total of 38 patients undergoing hepatic biopsy for a variety of liver diseases were recruited for this study. Hepatic fat morphology and severity were assessed visually in each biopsy specimen. Steatosis pattern included macrovesicular, microvesicular, or mixed. The severity of hepatic steatosis was assessed by MRI through chemical shift imaging (n = 38) and by ultrasound through echogenicity (n = 31 ). Results: MRI had a better correlation than ultrasound for microscopic fat content (r = 0.77, P < 0.001 vs. r = 0.41, P < 0.05). In macrovesicular steatosis, MRI and ultrasound both correlated well with microscopic fat content (r = 0.92, P < 0.001 vs. r = 0.90, P < 0.001). In nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, ultrasound revealed severe steatosis in all instances, but MRI fat content ranged greatly (19%-40%). In diagnoses excluding nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, increasing ultrasound severity did not correspond to advanced MRI fat content. Conclusion: Hepatic MRI and ultrasound are both useful in identifying heavy fat accumulation associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. MRI is superior to ultrasound in detecting and quantifying minor degrees of fatty metamorphosis in the liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-625
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Fatty liver
  • MRI
  • Macrovesicular
  • Microvesicular
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Steatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Hepatic MRI for fat quantitation: Its relationship to fat morphology, diagnosis, and ultrasound'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this