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Magn Reson Imaging. 1995;13(1):1-8.

Dynamic contrast-enhanced MR imaging of the liver: parenchymal enhancement patterns.

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  • 1Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110.


A retrospective study of 164 patients undergoing dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was performed to assess hepatic parenchymal enhancement patterns and to correlate these patterns with hepatic function and disease. Rapid T1-weighted images were acquired before and after gadolinium administration. Hepatic enhancement patterns were analyzed blindly by two observers. Medical records were reviewed to document known liver pathology and liver function test results. A total of 72% of patients had homogeneous enhancement of the liver parenchyma; 28% had heterogeneous enhancement. Of the latter group, 61% of patients had enhancement conforming to segmental or lobar boundaries. Patients with heterogeneous enhancement patterns were more likely to have abnormal liver function test results and hepatic morphological abnormalities on their MR examinations than patients with homogeneous enhancement patterns. Heterogeneous hepatic enhancement on dynamic MR images is associated with a higher likelihood of liver disease and biochemical evidence of hepatic dysfunction than homogeneous enhancement.

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