A comparison of liver surface and hepatic vein wall ultrasound as markers for fibrosis or cirrhosis of the liver

Richard Allan, Kerry Thoirs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: Clinical management of patients with suspected chronic liver disease (CLD) relies on liver biopsy which carries significant risks. This study aimed to compare the diagnostic accuracy of two previously described ultrasound techniques of liver assessment in patients who were clinically at risk of cirrhosis or fibrosis. Methods: We obtained approval from our institutional review board prior to commencement of this prospective, blinded, observational study. A sample of convenience (n=65) was recruited from the Flinders Medical Centre endoscopy unit to compare the liver biopsy results and ultrasound assessments of the liver surface and the hepatic vein wall. The diagnostic accuracy of each ultrasound technique was measured by calculating the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratios, positive and negative predictive values and diagnostic accuracy. Comparisons between diagnostic performance of the two techniques was calculated with McNemar's χ2 test. Results: Highest diagnostic accuracy (0.721) was demonstrated for assessment of the left lobe liver surface. Highest specificity was demonstrated for assessments of the left lobe liver (0.94) and right liver surfaces (0.98) and sensitivity was low for all ultrasound assessments (0-0.5). Conclusion: Compared to the hepatic vein wall image, the left surface image has higher specificity and diagnostic accuracy, a higher technical success rate, and has higher inter-reader agreement. The high specificity and low false positive rate for ultrasound assessment of liver surface indicates that a patient testing negative can potentially be ruled out of having CLD without the need for liver biopsy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)8-14
    Number of pages7
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


    • Cirrhosis
    • Fibrosis
    • Liver
    • Ultrasound


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