Shear wave elastography reveals a high prevalence of liver fibrosis in overweight or obese Hispanic youth
J Ultrason 2020; 20: e162–e168
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2020.0027

Background: Obesity, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes are risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Inflammation and hepatocellular damage associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease lead to progressive non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis. Current tests to identify fibrosis (liver biopsy) are invasive and not conducive to serial examination. For that reason, we used the newer technique of shear wave elastogrophy (SWE) to detect fibrosis in overweight or obese Hispanic youth and sought to determine if carbohydrate tolerance or insulin resistance were associated with fibrosis in this high risk population. Methods: A total of 67 Hispanic youth (8–18 years of age) with overweight or obesity who were referred for multidisciplinary evaluation were included. SWE was used to identify those with suspected fibrosis. Results of SWE were then compared with glycohemoglobin (A1c), insulin resistance (homeostatic model of insulin resistance), and biochemical parameters. Results: The prevalence of suspected fibrosis (SWE >5.10 kPa) in overweight or obese Hispanic youth was 62.7% (42/67). Patients with suspected fibrosis (SWE ≥5.10 kPa) had significantly higher levels of serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and the aminotransferase to platelet ratio index when compared to patients without significant fibrosis (SWE <5.01 kPa). However, there were no significant differences between the groups in body mass index, A1c, or homeostatic model of insulin resistance. Conclusions: SWE detected a high prevalence (62.7%) of suspected hepatic fibrosis in a group of high risk, overweight or obese Hispanic youth suggesting that SWE is a useful tool for surveillance and longitudinal studies.

Key words: prediabetes, fibrosis, diabetes, elastography, Hispanic