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World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Aug 14;19(30):4841-9. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i30.4841.

Acoustic radiation force impulse of the liver.


Acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging is a new and promising ultrasound-based diagnostic technique that, evaluating the wave propagation speed, allows the assessment of the tissue stiffness. ARFI is implemented in the ultrasound scanner. By short-duration acoustic radiation forces (less than 1 ms), localized displacements are generated in a selected region of interest not requiring any external compression so reducing the operator dependency. The generated wave scan provides qualitative or quantitative (wave velocity values) responses. Several non-invasive methods for assessing the staging of fibrosis are used, in order to avoid liver biopsy. Liver function tests and transient elastography are non-invasive, sensitive and accurate tools for the assessment of liver fibrosis and for the discrimination between cirrhotic and non-cirrhotic liver. Many published studies analyse ARFI performance and feasibility in studying diffuse liver diseases and compare them to other diagnostic imaging modalities such as conventional ultrasonography and transient elastography. Solid focal liver lesions, both benign and malignant, are common findings during abdominal examinations. The accurate characterization and differential diagnosis are important aims of all the imaging modalities available today. Only few papers describe the application of ARFI technology in the study of solid focal liver lesions, with different results. In the present study, the existing literature, to the best of our knowledge, about ARFI application on diffuse and focal liver pathology has been evaluated and results and statistical analyses have been compared, bringing to the conclusion that ARFI can be used in the study of the liver with similar accuracy as transient elastography in diagnosing significant fibrosis or cirrhosis and has got some advantages in respect to transient elastography since it does not require separate equipment, better displays anatomical structures and measurements can be successfully carried out almost in every patient.


Acoustic radiation force impulse imaging; Diffuse liver pathology; Focal liver lesion; Sonoelastography

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