Comparison of Hepatic Tissue Characterization between T1-Mapping and Non-Contrast Computed Tomography

Constanze Bardach, Leonie Morski, Katharina Mascherbauer, Carolina Donà, Matthias Koschutnik, Kseniya Halavina, Christian Nitsche, Dietrich Beitzke, Christian Loewe, Elisabeth Waldmann, Michael Trauner, Julia Mascherbauer, Christian Hengstenberg, Andreas Kammerlander

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article


BACKGROUND: Non-contrast computed tomography (CT) is frequently used to assess non-alcoholic/metabolic fatty liver disease (NAFLD/MAFLD), which is associated with cardiovascular risk. Although liver biopsy is considered the gold standard for diagnosis, standardized scores and non-contrast computed tomography (CT) are used instead. On standard cardiac T1-maps on cardiovascular imaging (CMR) exams for myocardial tissue characterization hepatic tissue is also visible. We hypothesized that there is a significant correlation between hepatic tissue T1-times on CMR and Hounsfield units (HU) on non-contrast CT.

METHODS: We retrospectively identified patients undergoing a non-contrast CT including the abdomen, a CMR including T1-mapping, and laboratory assessment within 30 days. Patients with storage diseases were excluded.

RESULTS: We identified 271 patients (62 ± 15 y/o, 49% female) undergoing non-contrast CT and CMR T1-mapping within 30 days. Mean hepatic HU values were 54 ± 11 on CT and native T1-times were 598 ± 102 ms on CMR and there was a weak, but significant, correlation between these parameters (r = -0.136, p = 0.025). On age and sex adjusted regression analysis, lower liver HU values indicated a dismal cardiometabolic risk profile, including higher HbA1C (p = 0.005) and higher body mass index (p < 0.001). In contrast, native hepatic T1-times yielded a more pronounced cardiac risk profile, including impaired systolic function (p = 0.045) and higher NT-proBNP values (N-Terminal Brain Natriuretic Peptide) (p = 0.004).

CONCLUSIONS: Hepatic T1-times are easy to assess on standard T1-maps on CMR but only weakly correlated with hepatic HU values on CT and clinical NAFLD/MAFLD scores. Liver T1-times, however, are linked to impaired systolic function and higher natriuretic peptide levels. The prognostic value and clinical usefulness of hepatic T1-times in CMR cohorts warrants further research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2863
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2022


  • cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging
  • computed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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