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Room-temperature susceptometry predicts biopsy-determined hepatic iron in patients with elevated serum ferritin

Bryan D. Maliken, William F. Avrin, James E. Nelson, Jody Mooney, Sankaran Kumar, Kris V. Kowdley


Background. There is an ongoing clinical need for novel methods to measure hepatic iron content (HIC) noninvasively. Both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) methods have previously shown promise for estimation of HIC, but these methods can be expensive and are not widely available. Room-temperature susceptometry (RTS) represents an inexpensive alternative and was previously found to be strongly correlated with HIC estimated by SQUID measurements among patients with transfusional iron overload related to thalassemia. Aim. The goal of the current study was to examine the relationship between RTS and biochemical HIC measured in liver biopsy specimens in a more varied patient cohort. Material and methods. Susceptometry was performed in a diverse group of patients with hyperferritinemia due to hereditary hemochromatosis (HHC) (n = 2), secondary iron overload (n = 3), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) (n = 2), and chronic viral hepatitis (n = 3) within one month of liver biopsy in the absence of iron depletion therapy. Results. The correlation coefficient between HIC estimated by susceptometry and by biochemical iron measurement in liver tissue was 0.71 (p = 0.022). Variance between liver iron measurement and susceptometry measurement was primarily related to reliance on the patient's body-mass index (BMI) to estimate the magnetic susceptibility of tissue overlying the liver. Conclusions. We believe RTS holds promise for noninvasive measurement of HIC. Improved measurement techniques, including more accurate overlayer correction, may further improve the accuracy of liver susceptometry in patients with liver disease.

Key words. SQUID, MRI, Hepatic iron content, Iron overload, Chronic liver disease

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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