Clinical applications of spleen ultrasound elastography – a review

Rafał Mazur1,2, Milena Celmer1,2, Jurand Silicki1,2, Daniel Hołownia1, Patryk Pozowski3, Krzysztof Międzybrodzki1,2

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2018; 18: 37–41
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2018.0006

In the last few years, notable technical progress has taken place in ultrasound elastography. Qualitative methods have been replaced by quantitative ones, such as: transient elastography, acoustic radiation force impulse and shear wave elastography. Owing to the fact that the spleen is superficially located, it is possible to obtain reliable measuring accuracy of its hardness using sonoelastography. Lately, many researchers have been investigating how spleen elasticity changes in patients infected with hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus and in patients suffering from liver fibrosis, portal hypertension, esophageal varices or myelofibrosis. In this article, we review the role and current status of accessible qualitative ultrasound elastography methods, including recent advances in the evaluation of spleen stiffness and its clinical utility. As study results demonstrate, spleen stiffness correlates with liver fibrosis and is helpful in determining the level of fibrosis in the METAVIR scoring system. In patients infected with hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus, spleen stiffness increases even when liver elasticity remains unaltered. Furthermore, it is useful in diagnosing portal hypertension or predicting existence of esophageal varices. Moreover, in patients suffering from biliary atresia after Kasai portoenterostomy, spleen sonoelastography may be helpful in selecting patients for liver transplantation as well as for choosing the best strategy for portal vein reconstruction before liver transplantation. In myelofibrosis, spleen stiffness correlates with bone marrow fibrosis and may be used to assess the response to treatment. Spleen sonoelastography is also useful in the monitoring of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt function.

spleen sonoelastography, liver fibrosis, portal hypertension, esophageal varices, myelofibrosis