Accuracy of real-time shear wave elastography for assessing liver fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C: A pilot study


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

  • The ultrasound equipment (Aixplorer) was made available for the study by SuperSonic Imagine S.A. (Aix-en-Provence, France).


Real-time shear wave elastography (SWE) is a novel, noninvasive method to assess liver fibrosis by measuring liver stiffness. This single-center study was conducted to assess the accuracy of SWE in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC), in comparison with transient elastography (TE), by using liver biopsy (LB) as the reference standard. Consecutive patients with CHC scheduled for LB by referring physicians were studied. One hundred and twenty-one patients met inclusion criteria. On the same day, real-time SWE using the ultrasound (US) system, Aixplorer (SuperSonic Imagine S.A., Aix-en-Provence, France), TE using FibroScan (Echosens, Paris, France), and US-assisted LB were consecutively performed. Fibrosis was staged according to the METAVIR scoring system. Analyses of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve were performed to calculate optimal area under the ROC curve (AUROC) for F0-F1 versus F2-F4, F0- F2 versus F3-F4, and F0-F3 versus F4 for both real-time SWE and TE. Liver stiffness values increased in parallel with degree of liver fibrosis, both with SWE and TE. AUROCs were 0.92 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.85-0.96) for SWE and 0.84 (95% CI: 0.76-0.90) for TE (P = 0.002), 0.98 (95% CI: 0.94-1.00) for SWE and 0.96 (95% CI: 0.90-0.99) for TE (P = 0.14), and 0.98 (95% CI: 0.93-1.00) for SWE and 0.96 (95% CI: 0.91-0.99) for TE (P = 0.48), when comparing F0-F1 versus F2- F4, F0- F2 versus F3-F4, and F0 -F3 versus F4, respectively. Conclusion: The results of this study show that real-time SWE is more accurate than TE in assessing significant fibrosis (≥F2). With respect to TE, SWE has the advantage of imaging liver stiffness in real time while guided by a B-mode image. Thus, the region of measurement can be guided with both anatomical and tissue stiffness information. (HEPATOLOGY 2012;56:2125–2133)