Elastography Method Helps Determine Liver Fibrosis

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A noninvasive method visualizes and quantitatively measures tissue rigidity across the different stages of fibrosis leading up to cirrhosis.

The Aixplorer Ultrasound System with ShearWave Elastography (SWE) can help determine quantitative liver rigidity values in a user-friendly manner, which can be safely renacted over time to document and follow disease progression or regression.

Ultrasonic shear-wave elastography is a form of vibrational wave analysis, comparable to that of a seismograph during earthquakes. The main shockwave that proliferates through the earth is a longitudinal wave, like that of ultrasound imaging, which runs along the direction of the wave. The secondary wave is a sloping wave that transmits by at right angles to the direction of the wave. These are also called shear waves or elastic shear waves. Shear waves are commonly used in nondestructive testing for flaws in manufactured materials, such as cracks.

The system is predicated on proprietary MultiWave technology, which images two kinds of waves to better categorize tissue; an ultrasound wave to gaurantee image quality, and a shear wave to compute and display true tissue rigidity in real time. Broadband technology delivers extremely high-resolution tissue harmonic imaging, which considerably diminshes image artifacts and offers better contrast resolution.liver gjgj

The Aixplorer also provides advanced and comprehensive Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS) solutions for detection, characterization, and monitoring of solid tumors, especially in the liver and abdomen. The blended mixture of CEUS and SWE enhance the comparison of blood flow in the microcirculation with the mechanical and structural elements of tissue, providing more diagnostic information. Exact measurements of liver rigidity are delivered in kilopascals (kPa); since liver rigidity increases with the severity of fibrosis, the measurement is telling of the degree of chronic liver injury in cirrhosis and hepatitis C patients.

The diagnostic information can help elicit medical treatment, help to assess the progress and effectiveness of drug therapy, and provide routine imaging monitoring for complications. When invasive procedures are required, the Aixplorer’s image quality is effective in assisting hepatologists and radiologists with ultrasound guided liver procedures such as needle placement for biopsy and paracentesis. The Aixplorer Ultrasound System is a product of SuperSonic Imagine (Aix-en-Provence, France).

“Several clinical studies have concluded that ShearWave Elastography is an accurate, reproducible technique to assess liver disease. The impact of ShearWave Elastography in liver imaging, both in clinical and economic terms, cannot be underestimated. This technology will enable a major shift in patient management,” said  CEO of SuperSonic Imagine, Jacques Souquet. 

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