• magnetic resonance elastography;
  • repeatability;
  • liver;
  • chronic liver disease;
  • fibrosis;
  • cirrhosis



To determine the sources of variability of MRE hepatic stiffness measurements using healthy volunteers and patients and to calculate the minimum change required for statistical significance. Hepatic stiffness measured with magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) has demonstrated tremendous potential as a noninvasive surrogate of hepatic fibrosis, although the underlying repeatability of MRE for longitudinal tracking of liver disease has not been documented.

Materials and Methods:

MRE stiffness measurements from 20 healthy volunteers and 10 patients were obtained twice on the same day, and repeated 2–4 weeks later for volunteers in this institutional review board-approved study. A linear mixed effects model was used to estimate the component sources of variability in the data.


The standard deviation of MRE measurements of the same individual on different days is 11.9% (percent of the measured stiffness) using the same reader and 12.0% using different readers. The standard deviation of the difference between two measurements (i.e., longitudinal change in an individual) is 17.4%; the corresponding 95% confidence interval for zero change is (−27.0%, 37.0%).


MRE is a repeatable method for quantifying liver stiffness. Using the described MRE technique, changes greater than 37.0% of the smaller measured stiffness value represent meaningful changes in longitudinal liver stiffness measurements. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2010;31:725–731. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.