Low-dose attenuation correction in diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Amjad M. Ahmed, Mohamed E. Ebid, Amr M. Ajlan, Mouaz H. Al-Mallah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Non-enhanced computed tomography (CT) is a valuable modality in the diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, it is not clear if low-dose CT attenuation correction (CTAC) scans have the same accuracy to diagnose NAFLD. Our aim is to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of low-dose CTAC in the diagnosis of NAFLD using non-enhanced CT as a gold standard. Methods: A total of 864 patients who underwent a clinically indicated hybrid nuclear imaging scanning between May 2011 and April 2014 were included in the study. Diagnosis of fatty liver was established if an absolute liver attenuation was <40 Hounsfield units and/or a liver-to-spleen ratio was <1.1. The diagnostic accuracy parameters were calculated to detect NAFLD by low-dose CTAC using unenhanced CT as a gold standard. Results: The prevalence of fatty liver by diagnostic CT and low-dose attenuation correction were 9.9 and 12.9% (using liver attenuation <40HU and liver-to-spleen ratio <1.1), respectively, with 32.9 and 34.9% (using absolute liver attenuation or ratio-to-spleen criteria), correspondingly. Low-dose CTAC had sensitivity (81.3%), specificity (94.0%), positive predictive value (60.2%), and negative predictive value (97.8%) using both diagnostic criteria. Using either of the diagnostic criteria resulted in sensitivity (76.8%), specificity (83.5%), PPV (66.3%), and NPV (89.5%). Conclusion: Low-dose CT could be used as a tool to rule out the presence of fatty liver if neither liver attenuation of less than 40 HU nor liver-to-spleen below 1.1 is present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2454-2459
Number of pages6
JournalAbdominal Radiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Diagnostic accuracy
  • Low-dose attenuation correction
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Non-enhanced computed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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