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Abdom Imaging. 2004 Mar-Apr;29(2):203-7.

Hepatocellular carcinoma in advanced liver cirrhosis: CT detection in transplant patients.

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  • 1Department of Radiology and the Center for Imaging Science, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, 50 Ilwon-dong, Kangnam-ku, Seoul 135-710, Korea. jhlim@smc.samsung.co.kr


Computed tomography (CT) is being used as the standard pretransplantation imaging for recipients and donors in the evaluation of liver volume, liver reserve function, vascular anatomy, diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma and metastasis, and global information of the abdominal cavity. Whereas CT detection of hepatocellular carcinoma in non-cirrhotic patients is satisfactory, detection sensitivity in severely cirrhotic patients is limited, with a reported sensitivity of 53% to 68%. Tumors smaller than 2 cm are more difficult to detect. Innumerable regenerative nodules, localized or diffuse fibrosis, arterioportal shunts, nodular surface, and distorted anatomy in end-stage liver cirrhosis make it difficult to detect small hepatocellular carcinoma. Because of the shortage of cadavers and living donors, judicious use of CT is necessary in the selection of candidates and the decision of priority for liver transplantation in patients with advanced liver cirrhosis.

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