Hepatic steatosis: Correlations of body mass index, CT fat measurements, and liver density with biopsy results

Ron C. Gaba, M. Grace Knuttinen, Tamara R. Brodsky, Sarah Palestrant, Benedictta O. Omene, Charles A. Owens, James T. Bui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


PURPOSE To assess the relationship between body mass index (BMI), subcutaneous and intra-abdominal fat, liver density, and histopathologic hepatic steatosis. MATERIALS AND METHODS In this retrospective study, 143 patients (male/female, 67/76; mean age, 50 years) underwent a non-targeted transjugular (n=125) or percutaneous (n=18) liver biopsy between 2006 and 2010. The biopsy indications included chronic liver parenchymal disease staging (n=88), elevated enzymes (n=39), or other reasons (n=16). The BMI and non-contrast liver computed tomography liver density were recorded for each patient. The thicknesses of the anterior, posterior, and posterolateral subcutaneous fat, along with the intra-abdominal fat, were measured. The values were then correlated with histopathologic steatosis. RESULTS Of the patients, 47/143 (32%), 39/143 (28%), and 57/143 (40%) were normal weight, overweight, and obese, respectively. Steatosis was present in 13/47 (28%) of normal weight, 18/39 (46%) of overweight, and 38/57 (67%) of obese patients. Significant differences in BMI (26.7 kg/m 2 vs. 31.7 kg/ m 2 vs. 35.0 kg/m 2, P < 0.001), liver density (52.8 HU vs. 54.4 HU vs. 42.0 HU, P < 0.001), anterior subcutaneous (1.8 cm vs. 2.4 cm vs. 2.9 cm, P < 0.001), posterolateral subcutaneous (2.8 cm vs. 3.2 cm vs. 4.4 cm, P < 0.004), posterior subcutaneous (1.9 cm vs. 2.5 cm vs. 3.4 cm, P < 0.001), and intra-abdominal fat thickness (1.1 cm vs. 1.3 cm vs. 1.4 cm, P < 0.013) were identified in patients with different degrees of steatosis (none, minimal to mild, moderate to severe, respectively). BMI (r=0.37, P < 0.001) and the anterior subcutaneous fat (r=0.30, P < 0.001) had a moderate correlation with the presence of liver steatosis. A combination of a BMI ≥32.0 kg/ m 2 and an anterior subcutaneous fat thickness ≥2.4 cm had a 40% sensitivity and 90% specificity for the identification of steatosis. CONCLUSION Increase in the anthropomorphic metrics of obesity is associated with an increased frequency of liver steatosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-287
Number of pages6
JournalDiagnostic and Interventional Radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Biopsy
  • Body mass index
  • Fatty liver
  • X-ray computed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Hepatic steatosis: Correlations of body mass index, CT fat measurements, and liver density with biopsy results'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this