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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Ultrasonography and scintigraphy in liver disease in developing countries. A retrospective survey.

In a study of the value of hepatic ultrasonography (US) and scintigraphy (SG) in detecting liver disease in developing countries 425 US scans and 304 SG scans of patients with focal or diffuse liver disease or normal livers were reviewed. The accuracy of both US and SG in distinguishing between normal and diseased livers was low (68% and 74%, respectively). Both techniques did better at detecting focal than diffuse liver disease; the sensitivity of US and SG in focal and diffuse disease was 88% and 92%, and 27% and 54%, respectively. The specificity of both procedures was high for both types of liver disease (91-96%). Overlap between US features of amoebic liver abscess, hepatocellular carcinoma, and metastatic carcinoma resulted in a correct final diagnosis being made in only 81% of patients with amoebic liver abscess, 29% with hepatocellular carcinoma, and 43% of patients with metastatic carcinoma who had a US scan. This study indicates that these techniques are neither accurate in detecting diffuse liver disease nor capable of determining the cause of diffuse liver disease. When diffuse parenchymal liver disease is suspected biopsy would be needed. Although the accuracy of both imaging modalities in detecting focal disease is high, overlap between the US features of the common causes of space-occupying lesions may result in an incorrect final diagnosis in some cases. In consequence, biopsy or aspiration might be required.[1]


  1. Ultrasonography and scintigraphy in liver disease in developing countries. A retrospective survey. Maharaj, B., Bhoora, I.G., Patel, A., Maharajh, J. Lancet (1989) [Pubmed]
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