Low-dose attenuation correction in diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Amjad M. Ahmed 1
Mohamed E. Ebid 1
Amr M. Ajlan 2
Mouaz H. Al-Mallah 1 3 4
1 King Abdulaziz Cardiac Center King Abdulaziz Medical City for National Guard – Health Affairs Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2 King AbdulAziz University Hospital Jeddah Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
3 King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
4 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Year of Publication:
Non-enhanced computed tomography (CT) is a valuable modality in the diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, it is not clear if low-dose CT attenuation correction (CTAC) scans have the same accuracy to diagnose NAFLD. Our aim is to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of low-dose CTAC in the diagnosis of NAFLD using non-enhanced CT as a gold standard.
A total of 864 patients who underwent a clinically indicated hybrid nuclear imaging scanning between May 2011 and April 2014 were included in the study. Diagnosis of fatty liver was established if an absolute liver attenuation was <40 Hounsfield units and/or a liver-to-spleen ratio was <1.1. The diagnostic accuracy parameters were calculated to detect NAFLD by low-dose CTAC using unenhanced CT as a gold standard.
The prevalence of fatty liver by diagnostic CT and low-dose attenuation correction were 9.9 and 12.9% (using liver attenuation <40HU and liver-to-spleen ratio <1.1), respectively, with 32.9 and 34.9% (using absolute liver attenuation or ratio-to-spleen criteria), correspondingly. Low-dose CTAC had sensitivity (81.3%), specificity (94.0%), positive predictive value (60.2%), and negative predictive value (97.8%) using both diagnostic criteria. Using either of the diagnostic criteria resulted in sensitivity (76.8%), specificity (83.5%), PPV (66.3%), and NPV (89.5%).
Low-dose CT could be used as a tool to rule out the presence of fatty liver if neither liver attenuation of less than 40 HU nor liver-to-spleen below 1.1 is present.