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Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int. 2013 Apr;12(2):165-70.

Application of acoustic radiation force impulse imaging for the evaluation of focal liver lesion elasticity.

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Department of Ultrasound, Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410013, China.



Acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging is a new elastography method for the evaluation of tissue stiffness. This study aims to evaluate the performance of ARFI in noninvasive assessment of the tissue stiffness of focal liver lesion (FLL) and to explore its potential value in the differential diagnosis of FLL.


ARFI was performed in 140 patients with 154 FLLs, which included 28 hemangiomas (ANGIs), 14 focal nodular hyperplasias (FNHs), 61 hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs), 39 metastases and 12 cholangiocellular carcinomas (CCCs). Virtual touch tissue quantification (VTTQ) values were obtained, analyzed and compared. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) and optimal cut-off values were obtained using a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis to assess diagnostic performance. All cases were definitively diagnosed using histopathology, CT, MRI or contrast-enhanced ultrasound.


The VTTQ median values of ANGI, FNH, HCC, metastasis and CCC were 1.30, 1.80, 2.52, 3.08 and 3.89 m/s, respectively. A significant increase in the VTTQ values of different lesions was observed: ANGI<FNH<HCC<InvalidTagstasis<CCC (P<0.001). The AUROC (95% CI) of VTTQ values was 0.94 (0.90-0.98) for ANGI, 0.91 (0.87-0.96) for malignant lesions and 0.87 (0.79-0.94) for CCC. The sensitivity and specificity for ANGI (86.5%, 89.3%, respectively), malignancy (81.3%, 92.9%, respectively), and CCC (91.7%, 72.5%, respectively) were associated with VTTQ cut-off values of 1.76, 2.22 and 3.00 m/s, respectively.


ARFI can accurately and objectively assess the elasticity of lesions by obtaining the shear wave elastic value of FLL with VTTQ. Therefore, ARFI is a novel, simple, noninvasive and useful diagnostic method for the characterization of FLL.

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