Public Release: 

CT and MRI accurate for pre-transplant evaluation of patients with cirrhosis

American College of Radiology

CT and MRI are highly accurate at determining which patients would be optimal candidates for liver transplantation, says a recent study.

The study evaluated 1,029 cirrhotic patients who underwent liver transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The researchers reviewed the last imaging report before surgery (970 on CT and 59 on MRI) and the pathologic report of the explanted liver. The patients were then assessed according to the Milan and University of California San Francisco criteria which describes which patients are the best candidates for transplant.

"The purpose of our study was to focus on the medical decision making process for liver transplant candidate selection and the utilization of CT and MRI to this end," said Alessandro Furlan, MD, one of the authors of the study.

According to the study, agreement between the radiology and pathology staging was demonstrated in 96.5% and 97.5% of the patients according to the Milan and UCSF criteria. The study revealed that imaging underestimated tumor stage in 2.7% (Milan) and 1.85% (UCSF) of the patients and overestimated tumor stage in 0.8% (Milan) and 0.7% of the patients (UCSF).

"The results support the current use of CT and MRI as tools to assist with candidate selection according to criteria from the United Network of Organ Sharing/Milan and UCSF," said Dr. Furlan. "The results essentially support the validity of current clinical practice in the use of CT and MRI in the workup of liver transplant patients," he said.

The full results of the study will be presented on Thursday, May 10, 2007 during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL.

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