Jennifer Leigh Rehm1, Vanessa A. Curtis1, Catherine D. G. Hines2, Ellen L. Connor1, Aaron L. Carrel1, David B. Allen1, Scott B. Reeder2,3
1Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, Madison, WI, United States; 2Radiology, University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, Madison, WI, United States; 3Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI, United States
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a growing problem in the pediatric population and is anticipated to be the leading cause of liver failure in the future. Traditional methods of detecting fatty liver, such as ultrasound or liver enzyme blood screening, are insensitive to early stages of disease. We have demonstrated the feasibility of a rapid, clinically relevant, non-invasive method for early detection and quantitative staging of hepatic steatosis. While hepatic steatosis does correlate with elevated ALT, it is only moderately correlated with traditional markers of metabolic risk such as insulin resistance and hyper-triglyceridemia, and does not correlate with BMI. We have demonstrated that a novel quantitative MRI fat-fraction technique holds promise as a method for early detection, staging and treatment monitoring of NAFLD in obese adolescents.