MR spectroscopy of the liver - a reliable non-invasive alternative for evaluating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Vol. 61 No. 1, 2020


Alina Maria Lapadat, Lucian Mihai Florescu, Nicolae Catalin Manea, Dan Ionut Gheonea, Daniel Pirici, Diana Rodica Tudorascu, Razvan Ene, Ioana Andreea Gheonea

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common conditions worldwide that targets the liver parenchyma. NAFLD represents an intrahepatic triglyceride accumulation in the absence of excessive alcohol consumption and other diseases that affect the liver parenchyma. The current gold standard for evaluating the amount of intrahepatic fat is represented by liver biopsy, but many patients are reluctant and hardly accept undergoing this procedure due to its invasive nature. The current study addresses this aspect by evaluating the reliability of liver magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in diagnosing NAFLD, compared to the traditional invasive liver biopsy. The present study included a total of 38 patients based on several well-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. We used the same NAFLD grading system for both liver MRS and liver biopsy: grade 0: <5% hepatocytes are affected; grade I: 5-33% hepatocytes are affected; grade II: 34-66% hepatocytes are affected; grade III: >66% hepatocytes are affected. Regarding the NAFLD grade, over three-quarters of patients were classified as grade I and grade II, with a strong predilection for men. The current results indicated a significant association between the NAFLD grade indicated by liver MRS and the NAFLD grade indicated by liver biopsy. At the end of our study, we recommend using liver MRS for evaluating and grading NAFLD in association with other parameters like serum triglycerides and body mass index grade as this protocol can enhance early detection and provide an accurate grading that will lead to a proper management of this disease.

Corresponding author: Lucian Mihai Florescu, MD, PhD; e-mail:; Nicolae Catalin Manea, Eng, PhD Student; e-mail:

DOI: 10.47162/RJME.61.1.08 Download PDF