Brief Article
Copyright ©2012 Baishideng Publishing Group Co., Limited. All rights reserved.
World J Radiol. Apr 28, 2012; 4(4): 174-178
Published online Apr 28, 2012. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v4.i4.174
ARFI elastography for the evaluation of diffuse thyroid gland pathology: Preliminary results
Ioan Sporea, Roxana Sirli, Simona Bota, Mihaela Vlad, Alina Popescu, Ioana Zosin
Ioan Sporea, Roxana Sirli, Simona Bota, Alina Popescu, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara, 300736 Timisoara, Romania
Mihaela Vlad, Ioana Zosin, Department of Endocrinology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara, 300736 Timisoara, Romania
Author contributions: Sporea I designed, supervised and revised the manuscript; Sirli R and Bota S wrote the manuscript draft; Bota S, Sirli R, Popescu A, Vlad M and Zosin I performed the research; Bota S analyzed the data; Sporea I, Vlad M, Popescu A and Zosin I revised the manuscript draft; all authors approved the final version of the manuscript.
Correspondence to: Dr. Ioan Sporea, Professor, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Timisoara, 13, Snagov Street, 300482 Timisoara, Romania.
Telephone: +40-256-309455 Fax: +40-256-488003
Received: October 7, 2011
Revised: March 17, 2012
Accepted: March 24, 2012
Published online: April 28, 2012

AIM: To assess whether acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) elastography can differentiate normal from pathological thyroid parenchyma.

METHODS: We evaluated 136 subjects (mean age 45.8 ± 15.6 years, 106 women and 30 men): 44 (32.3%) without thyroid pathology, 48 (35.3%) with Basedow-Graves’ disease (GD), 37 (27.2%) with chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (CAT; diagnosed by specific tests), 4 (2.9%) with diffuse thyroid goiter and 3 (2.2%) cases with thyroid pathology induced by amiodarone. In all patients, 10 elastographic measurements were made in the right thyroid lobe and 10 in the left thyroid lobe, using a 1-4.5 MHZ convex probe and a 4-9 MHz linear probe, respectively. Median values were calculated for thyroid stiffness and expressed in meters/second (m/s).

RESULTS: Thyroid stiffness (TS) assessed by means of ARFI in healthy subjects (2 ± 0.40 m/s) was significantly lower than in GD (2.67 ± 0.53 m/s) (P < 0.0001) and CAT patients (2.43 ± 0.58 m/s) (P = 0.0002), but the differences were not significant between GD vs CAT patients (P = 0.053). The optimal cut-off value for the prediction of diffuse thyroid pathology was 2.36 m/s. For this cut-off value, TS had 62.5% sensitivity, 79.5% specificity, 87.6% predictive positive value, 55.5% negative predictive value and 72.7% accuracy for the presence of diffuse thyroid gland pathology (AUROC = 0.804). There were no significant differences between the TS values obtained with linear vs convex probes and when 5 vs 10 measurements were taken in each lobe (median values).

CONCLUSION: ARFI seems to be a useful method for the assessment of diffuse thyroid gland pathology.

Keywords: Acoustic radiation force impulse elastography, Thyroid stiffness, Thyroid pathology