OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to determine whether contrast-enhanced CT quantification of the hepatic fractional extracellular space (ECS) correlates with the severity of diffuse liver disease. MATERIALS AND METHODS. The cases of 70 patients without (46 men, 24 women; mean age, 59.1 years) and 36 patients with (23 men, 13 women; mean age, 63.1 years) cirrhosis who had undergone unenhanced and 10-minute delayed phase contrast-enhanced CT were retrospectively identified. By consensus one experienced radiologist and one trainee measured the CT attenuation of the liver and aorta to estimate the fractional ECS, defined as the ratio of the difference between the attenuation of the liver on 10-minute and unenhanced images to the difference between the attenuation of the aorta on 10-minute and unenhanced images multiplied by 1 minus the hematocrit. Findings were correlated with each patient's Model of End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score. RESULTS. The mean MELD score was higher in patients with than in those without cirrhosis (14.3 ± 7.3 versus 7.20 ± 2.4, p < 0.0001). The mean fractional ECS was significantly greater in patients with cirrhosis than in those without cirrhosis (41.0% ± 9.0% versus 23.8% ± 6.3%, p < 0.0001). The fractional ECS correlated with the MELD score (r = 0.572, p < 0.0001) and was predictive of cirrhosis with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.953 (p < 0.0001). The sensitivity and specificity of an expanded fractional ECS greater than 30% for the prediction of cirrhosis were 92% and 83%. Multivariate linear regression revealed that the fractional ECS is complementary to the MELD score as a predictor of cirrhosis (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION. Noninvasive contrast-enhanced CT quantification of the fractional ECS correlates with the MELD score, an indicator of the severity of liver disease, and merits further study.
- Delayed enhancement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging