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BackgroundHepatic fibrosis is a typical complication of chronic liver diseases resulting in cirrhosis that remains a major public health problem worldwide. Liver biopsy is currently the gold standard for diagnosing and staging hepatic fibrosis. Percutaneous liver biopsy; however, is an invasive procedure with risks of complications. Therefore, there is need for alternative non-invasive techniques to assess liver fibrosis and chronic liver diseases. In recent years, MRI techniques, including diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), have been developed for in vivo quantification of liver fibrosis.ObjectivesThe purpose of this study is to evaluate the utility of diffusion weighted MRI in the diagnosis and quantification of the degree of hepatic fibrosis and to investigate the influence of b-value.Patients and MethodsTwenty-four patients (13 males, 11 females), with a mean age of 46 years (36-73 years) diagnosed as chronic hepatitis and histopathologically proven liver fibrosis and 22 other patients (8 males, 14 females) with no clinical or biochemical findings of liver disease, with a mean age of 51.2 years (32-75 years) were included in the study. All patients with chronic hepatitis underwent percutaneous liver biopsy by an experienced hepatologist without sonographic guidance. The Knodell histology activity index (HAI) for grading of necroinflammatory changes and Metavir scoring system for staging of the liver fibrosis were used to record the severity of the disease. All patients were examined with a 1.5 Tesla MRI system and the patients underwent diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) with a routine hepatic MRI protocol. Different b-values including 250, 500, 750, and 1000 sec/mm 2 were used to calculate apparent diffusion coefficients.ResultsWe detected decreased apparent diffusion coefficient values in patients with hepatic fibrosis compared to patients without chronic hepatitis and there was a trend toward decrease in hepatic apparent diffusion coefficient values with an increasing degree of fibrosis.ConclusionsOur findings suggest that hepatic apparent diffusion coefficient measurement with a b-value of 750 sec/mm 2 or greater is useful in accurate quantification of liver fibrosis and necroinflammation.


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