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Feasibility of and agreement between MR imaging and spectroscopic estimation of hepatic proton density fat fraction in children with known or suspected nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

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To assess feasibility of and agreement between magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) for estimating hepatic proton density fat fraction (PDFF) in children with known or suspected nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Materials and methods

Children were included in this study from two previous research studies in each of which three MRI and three MRS acquisitions were obtained. Sequence acceptability, and MRI- and MRS-estimated PDFF were evaluated. Agreement of MRI- with MRS-estimated hepatic PDFF was assessed by linear regression and Bland-Altman analysis. Age, sex, BMI-Z score, acquisition time, and artifact score effects on MRI- and MRS-estimated PDFF agreement were assessed by multiple linear regression.


Eighty-six children (61 boys and 25 girls) were included in this study. Slope and intercept from regressing MRS-PDFF on MRI-PDFF were 0.969 and 1.591%, respectively, and the Bland-Altman bias and 95% limits of agreement were 1.17% ± 2.61%. MRI motion artifact score was higher in boys than girls (by 0.21, p = 0.021). Higher BMI-Z score was associated with lower agreement between MRS and MRI (p = 0.045).


Hepatic PDFF estimation by both MRI and MRS is feasible, and MRI- and MRS-estimated PDFF agree closely in children with known or suspected NAFLD.

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