Purpose: To investigate whether the contrast enhancement effect in hepatobiliary phase (HBP) images can be predicted using transitional phase (3-min delay) images on liver magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based on the quantitative liver-spleen contrast ratio (Q-LSC) and albumin-bilirubin (ALBI) grade. Methods: Overall, 212 patients (124 men and 88 women; mean age 66.7 ± 11.1 years) who underwent blood tests (assessed within 1 month of performing MRI) were included; patients with diffuse tumor, hepatectomy, splenectomy, Gamna-Gandy bodies in the spleen, and movement artifacts were excluded. Q-LSC was calculated using the signal intensity of the liver divided that of the spleen. Q-LSC > 1.5 (cut-off value) indicates a relatively higher sensitivity for detecting of hepatic lesions. To predict the contrast enhancement effect in HBP using Q-LSC of 3-min delay images, Q-LSC of 10- and 15-min delay images were compared for each ALBI grade based on Q-LSC of 3-min delay images. Furthermore, to verify the accuracy of this prediction, the proportion of cases with Q-LSC > 1.5 in 10- and 15 min delay images was calculated based on Q-LSC on 3-min delay images. Results: The higher the Q-LSC on the 3-min delay image, the higher was the Q-LSC on its 10- and 15-min delay images. The proportion of cases with Q-LSC > 1.5 in 10- and 15-min delay images was higher for ALBI grade 1 than for ALBI grades 2 and 3 even in the same Q-LSC on 3-min delay images. Q-LSC was <1 in a 3-min delay image and <1.5 in a 15-min delay image in 62.2% of patients with ALBI grade 1 and 82.1% of patients with ALBI grades 2 and 3. Conclusion: The liver contrast enhancement effect in HBP images could be predicted using a 3-min delay image based on Q-LSC and ALBI grade.
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