Multicenter Study of ACR Ultrasound LI-RADS Visualization Scores on Serial Examinations: Implications for Surveillance Strategies

Thodsawit Tiyarattanachai, David T. Fetzer, Aya Kamaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND. The American College of Radiology Ultrasound LI-RADS includes the visualization score as a subjective measure of examination quality and the expected level of sensitivity. Whether a single suboptimal visualization score warrants a change in surveillance strategy is unknown. OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study is to determine the relative stability of visualization scores on serial surveillance ultrasound examinations in patients at risk for HCC. METHODS. This retrospective study included patients at risk for HCC who underwent at least two HCC surveillance ultrasound examinations at one of three institutions between January 2017 and November 2020. The frequencies of the score remaining unchanged after variable numbers of preceding examinations with the given score were determined. A mixed-effects logistic model was fitted to identify factors associated with a repeat score of C (denoting severe limitations) versus a change to score A (indicating no or minimal limitations) or score B (denoting moderate limitations). RESULTS. A total of 3169 patients underwent at least two ultrasound examinations, yielding a total of 9602 examinations. A total of 8030 examinations (83.6%) were assigned score A; 1378 (14.4%), score B; and 194 (2.0%), score C. The frequency of score A was 88%, 91%, and 93% after one, two, and three consecutive prior examinations with score A, respectively. The frequency of score B was 45%, 48%, and 55% after one, two, and three consecutive prior examinations with score B. The frequency of score C was 42%, 67%, and 80% after one, two, and three consecutive prior examinations with score C. Among 109 examinations with score C in 91 patients with an available follow-up examination, no factor (including age, sex, severe steatosis, advanced cirrhosis, ascites, body mass index, and a change in the ultrasound machine, sonographer, or radiologist) was significantly associated with repeat score C (all p > .05). Although not statistically significant, presence of severe steatosis and presence of advanced cirrhosis had the highest odds ratios (2.88 and 2.38, respectively) for repeat score C in multivariable analysis. CONCLUSION. Only 42% of patients with visualization score C on a single surveillance examinations have score C on follow-up examinations; however, after two or more score C examinations, the chance of future score C substantially increases. CLINICAL IMPACT. The findings may inform decisions regarding alternative surveillance strategies in patients with visualization score C on ultrasound. This decision should consider the number of previous examinations with score C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-452
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Volume219
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • screening and surveillance
  • ultrasound
  • US LI-RADS
  • visualization score

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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