MRI has emerged as the most comprehensive noninvasive diagnostic tool for focal liver lesions and diffuse hepatobiliary disorders. The introduction of hepatobiliary contrast agents, most notably gadoxetic acid (GA), has expanded the role of MRI, particularly in the functional imaging of chronic liver diseases, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). GA-enhanced MRI (GA-MRI) may help to distinguish between the two subgroups of NAFLD, simple steatosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Furthermore, GA-MRI can be used to stage fibrosis and cirrhosis, predict liver transplant graft survival, and preoperatively estimate the risk of liver failure should major resection be undertaken. The amount of GA uptake can be estimated, using static images, by the relative liver enhancement, hepatic uptake index, and relaxometry of T1-mapping during the hepatobiliary phase. On the contrary, the hepatic extraction fraction and liver perfusion can be measured on dynamic imaging. Importantly, there is currently no clear consensus as to which of these MR-derived parameters is the most suitable for assessing liver dysfunction. This review article aims to describe the current role of GA-enhanced MRI in quantifying liver function, primarily in diffuse hepatobiliary disorders.
- Chronic liver diseaes
- Functional imaging
- Gadoxetic acid
- Liver failure
- Liver transplant graft survival
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging