Curr Health Sci J, vol. 46, no. 3, 2020

The Role of Elastography in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

[Original Paper]


(1)Research Center of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova, Romania


The most common liver disease in developing countries is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This involves the abnormal accumulation of lipids in the liver, the pathogenesis of the disease being related to dyslipidemia, obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Most often, the diagnosis of NAFLD is incidental, when performing routine blood tests or when performing a transabdominal ultrasound. The NAFLD spectrum ranges from simple forms of hepatic steatosis to the most advanced form of the disease, steatohepatitis (NASH), which in evolution can cause inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis of the liver and even liver cancer. For the evaluation of the prognosis and the clinical evolution, the most important parameter to define is the degree of liver fibrosis. Currently, the gold standard remains the liver biopsy, the differentiation between NAFLD and NASH being made only on the basis of histological analysis. However, liver biopsy is an invasive procedure, with numerous risks such as bleeding, lesions of the other organs and complications related to anesthesia, which significantly reduces its widespread use. Moreover, the risk of a false negative result and the increased costs of the procedure further limits its use in current practice. For this reason, non-invasive methods of evaluating the degree of liver fibrosis have gained ground in recent years. Imaging techniques such as elastography have shown promising results in evaluating and staging NAFLD. The aim of this article is to review the current status of the non-invasive tests for the assessment of NAFLD with a focus on the ultrasound-based elastography techniques.

Fatty liver disease, NAFLD, elastography, ultrasound NAFLD.

Adrian Saftoiu, Research Center of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova, Strada Petru Rare 2, Craiova 200349, Romania, e-mails:,

DOI 10.12865/CHSJ.46.03.07 - Download PDF