MRI has been proposed for non-invasive detection and quantification of liver iron content.
However, it has not been validated as a reproducible and sensitive method, especially in patients with mild iron overload.
|The team detected clinically relevant liver iron overload > µmol per gram.|
In this study, doctors from France assessed the accuracy of an MRI procedure to detect and quantify hepatic iron stores.
The team included 174 patients. Of these, 139 formed the study group and 35 formed the validation group.
All patients underwent percutaneous liver biopsy with biochemical assessment of hepatic iron concentration (B-HIC) and MRI of the liver.
The team calculated a correlation between liver to muscle (L/M) signal intensity ratio and liver iron concentration.
They also developed an algorithm to calculate magnetic resonance hepatic iron concentration (MR-HIC).
The doctors found that a highly T2-weighted GRE sequence was most sensitive. It had an 89% sensitivity and 80% specificity in the validation group, with an L/M ratio below 0•88.
This threshold allowed the team to detect all clinically relevant liver iron overload greater than 60 µmol per gram.
Prof. Gandon's team concluded, "MRI is a rapid, non-invasive, and cost effective technique that could limit use of liver biopsy to assess liver iron content".
"Our MR-HIC algorithm is designed to be used on various magnetic resonance machines".