Transforming Non-Invasive Liver Disease Detection by Magnetic Resonance Elastography


About this study

A variety of liver insults lead to pathological changes in liver architecture that culminate in cirrhosis. While invasive liver biopsy was required to detect cirrhosis, the development of magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) has revolutionized our ability to detect liver fibrosis through non-invasive means that involve measurement of liver stiffness. However, a number of pathological findings occur in liver in response to various insults that precede cirrhosis and are clinically important to identify such as steatosis associated with NASH, inflammation associated with viral hepatitis, and congestion associated with cardiac hepatopathy. Detection of such entities provides essential diagnostic, prognostic, and treatment information but yet is not available non-invasively. Recent murine studies from this group of investigators has identified that MRE technology can be adapted to non-invasively detect these conditions. Implementing this into the practice will transform it by obviating the need for invasive liver biopsies in patients suspected of having such forms of suspected liver disease. This will differentiate Mayo from other institutions where such technology is not available.

An additional aim of this study is to examine the impact of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), both common comorbidities of obesity. Recent evidence indicates a potential link between OSA and severity of NASH and fibrosis, but the mechanisms of OSA- associated hypoxia on liver disease progression in NAFLD is unclear. This study offers the unique opportunity to analyze this association, as the study population will undergo routine evaluation for OSA, as part as the preoperative work-up prior to bariatric surgery.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age ≥ 18 years.
  • Verbal and written fluency of the English language.
  • Able to consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Absolute contraindications to MRI including pacemaker, automatic implantable cardioverter/defibrillator (AICD) device, cochlear implant, ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt, aneurysm clip, deep brain stimulator, and severe claustrophobia.
  • Absolute contraindications to liver biopsy including coagulopathy.
  • History of decompensated cirrhosis complicated by one or more of the following: esophageal variceal hemorrhage, ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, or spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • History of liver transplantation or hepatic resection.
  • History of primary or secondary hepatic malignancy.
  • Current or previous excessive alcohol consumption within 6 months of study enrollment defined as > 30 grams/day for men and > 20 grams/day for women.
  • Current or prior history of therapy for underlying liver disease including interferon-based medications, other antiviral agents, immunomodulatory therapy, biologic response modifier therapy, and complementary/
  • alternative medications including (but not encompassing) milk thistle.
  • Any severe medical condition that, in the opinion of the Principal Investigator, would serve as an exclusion criterion for study enrollment.

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Alina Allen, M.D.

Closed for enrollment

Contact information:

Suzanne Greiner


More information


Publications are currently not available

Mayo Clinic Footer