Abdominal Radiology

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 800–807 | Cite as

Shear wave liver elastography

  • Richard G. Barr


Chronic liver disease is a substantial world-wide problem. Its major consequence is increasing deposition of fibrous tissue within the liver leading to the development of cirrhosis with its consequences of portal hypertension, hepatic insufficiency, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The stage of liver fibrosis is important to determine prognosis, surveillance, prioritize for treatment, and potential for reversibility. The process of fibrosis is dynamic and regression of fibrosis is possible with treatment of the underlying conditions. Previously, the only method of staging the degree of fibrosis was liver biopsy. The recent development of ultrasound elastography techniques allows a non-invasive method of estimating the degree of liver fibrosis. Transient elastography (TE) is a non-imaging elastographic technique, while point shear wave (p-SWE) and 2D-SWE combine imaging with elastography. The evidence at this time suggests that p-SWE is as accurate as but more reliable than TE, while 2D-SWE is more accurate than TE. This review discusses the background of chronic liver disease, the types of ultrasound elastography, how to perform an examination, and how to interpret the results.


Shear wave elastography Liver stiffness Cirrhosis Point shear wave elastography Real-time shear wave elastography 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Barr has research grants from Philips Ultrasound, Siemens Ultrasound, SuperSonic Imagine, B and K Ultrasound. He is on the speaker’s bureau of Philips Ultrasound and Bracco Diagnostics. He is on the advisory board of Bracco Diagnostics and Lantheus Medical. He receives royalties from Thieme Publishers.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northeastern Ohio Medical UniversityRootstownUSA
  2. 2.Southwoods ImagingYoungstownUSA

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