Diffuse liver steatosis is a condition in which hepatocytes are composed of fatty material. It is diagnosed by ultrasound, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging. The severity of steatosis can be measured with a standard grading system. Patients with this condition have a steatosis grade of 0 to 3. A grade of 0 means that the steatosis is minimal. A grade of 1 represents that the steatosis is not noticeable; a grade of 2 represents 5%. A grade of 3 indicates that more than six percent of the hepatocytes are steatosed.
The probabilistic model used to assess steatosis grade was validated by comparing the sensitivity and specificity of MR-derived threshold values. The threshold values were designed to discriminate between steatosis grade 0 and grade 1, and the overall accuracy of the model was assessed.
The most common imaging modality for diagnosing hepatic steatosis is transabdominal ultrasonography. This technique is noninvasive and inexpensive. Ultrasound images of the liver reveal a hyperechogenic (bright) parenchyma, which is characteristic of diffuse fatty liver. Other ultrasound features include reduced visualization of vascular margins.
Diffuse liver fat may be a precursor to cirrhosis. The presence of both conditions may increase the risk of disease progression and decreased response to antiviral therapy. In addition, the condition can also be a sign of alcohol toxicity.