Purpose: To compare longitudinal hepatic proton density fat fraction (PDFF) changes estimated by magnitude- vs. complex-based chemical-shift-encoded MRI during a weight loss surgery (WLS) program in severely obese adults with biopsy-proven nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a prospective dual-center longitudinal study of 54 adults (44 women; mean age 52 years; range 27–70 years) with obesity, biopsy-proven NAFLD, and baseline PDFF ≥ 5%, enrolled in a WLS program. PDFF was estimated by confounder-corrected chemical-shift-encoded MRI using magnitude (MRI-M)- and complex (MRI-C)-based techniques at baseline (visit 1), after a 2- to 4-week very low–calorie diet (visit 2), and at 1, 3, and 6 months (visits 3 to 5) after surgery. At each visit, PDFF values estimated by MRI-M and MRI-C were compared by a paired t test. Rates of PDFF change estimated by MRI-M and MRI-C for visits 1 to 3, and for visits 3 to 5 were assessed by Bland-Altman analysis and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). Results: MRI-M PDFF estimates were lower by 0.5–0.7% compared with those of MRI-C at all visits (p < 0.001). There was high agreement and no difference between PDFF change rates estimated by MRI-M vs. MRI-C for visits 1 to 3 (ICC 0.983, 95% CI 0.971, 0.99; bias = − 0.13%, p = 0.22), or visits 3 to 5 (ICC 0.956, 95% CI 0.919–0.977%; bias = 0.03%, p = 0.36). Conclusion: Although MRI-M underestimates PDFF compared with MRI-C cross-sectionally, this bias is consistent and MRI-M and MRI-C agree in estimating the rate of hepatic PDFF change longitudinally. Key Points: • MRI-M demonstrates a significant but small and consistent bias (0.5–0.7%; p < 0.001) towards underestimation of PDFF compared with MRI-C at 3 T. • Rates of PDFF change estimated by MRI-M and MRI-C agree closely (ICC 0.96–0.98) in adults with severe obesity and biopsy- proven NAFLD enrolled in a weight loss surgery program. • Our findings support the use of either MRI technique (MRI-M or MRI-C) for clinical care or by individual sites or for multi-center trials that include PDFF change as an endpoint. However, since there is a bias in their measurements, the same technique should be used in any given patient for longitudinal follow-up.
- Longitudinal study
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging