US Backscatter for Liver Fat Quantification: An AIUM-RSNA QIBA Pulse-Echo Quantitative Ultrasound Initiative

Keith A. Wear, Aiguo Han, Jonathan M. Rubin, Jing Gao, Roberto Lavarello, Guy Cloutier, Jeffrey Bamber, Theresa Tuthill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is believed to affect one-third of American adults. Noninvasive methods that enable detection and monitoring of NAFLD have the potential for great public health benefits. Because of its low cost, portability, and noninvasiveness, US is an attractive alternative to both biopsy and MRI in the assessment of liver steatosis. NAFLD is qualitatively associated with enhanced B-mode US echogenicity, but visual measures of B-mode echogenicity are negatively affected by interobserver variability. Alternatively, quantitative backscatter parameters, including the hepatorenal index and backscatter coefficient, are being investigated with the goal of improving US-based characterization of NAFLD. The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine and Radiological Society of North America Quantitative Imaging Biomarkers Alliance are working to standardize US acquisition protocols and data analysis methods to improve the diagnostic performance of the backscatter coefficient in liver fat assessment. This review article explains the science and clinical evidence underlying backscatter for liver fat assessment. Recommendations for data collection are discussed, with the aim of minimizing potential confounding effects associated with technical and biologic variables.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-537
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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