Author(s): Davidson LE, Kuk JL, Church TS, Ross R
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Abstract To develop a protocol for measurement of liver fat using computed tomography (CT), we conducted a preliminary study with 118 men and 76 women to determine a readily identifiable vertebral landmark at which the CT image displayed both liver and spleen. Analysis of five landmarks revealed that the CT image obtained at the T12-L1 level simultaneously displayed the liver and spleen in 90\% of the men and women. The T12-L1 protocol was cross-validated on a sample of 130 men and 113 women. In this sample, we also assessed the regional characteristics of liver and spleen tissue attenuation at the T12-L1 level by subdividing each image into quartiles from anterior to posterior, each of which were further divided into medial and lateral regions. A similar analysis was performed on images located 12 mm above and below T12-L1. The T12-L1 image displayed both liver and spleen in 92\% (403 of 437) of the combined study sample. There was a significant (P<0.005) stepwise increase in attenuation values [Hounsfield units (HU)] from the inferior to superior image. Although some significant (P<0.05) differences were observed between the eight regions by comparison to the whole liver or spleen, the average magnitude of the difference was <2.0 HU for liver and <3.5 HU for spleen. Acquisition of a single CT image at the T12-L1 level is a practical and reliable method for routine measurement of liver fat in research and clinical settings.
This article was published in J Appl Physiol (1985)
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism