Liver Function Evaluation

The liver is an important organ involved in vital processes as metabolism and removal of toxins. The western way of life is putting a high strain on the organ and liver diseases are consequently increasing. Liver Function Evaluation is a clinical research project that with the help of magnetic resonance (MR) will develop new methods for diagnosing liver disease. The new technology is expected to result in better treatment of diffuse liver diseases and safer liver surgery.

Peter Lundberg at the MR camera

Uncertain Outcome of Liver Surgery

Many malignant liver diseases are diagnosed when they are in an advanced stage and the liver may be seriously damaged. At that time, surgery or liver transplantation is often the only curable treatment option. In order for the patient to survive a liver tumor operation, a healthy piece of the liver has to be left in the body. The liver is then growing during 4-5 weeks to regain almost full size and function. The first week after the surgery is a critical time since the small sized liver has to manage the job of a full liver.

Today, determination of how much of the liver to remove is difficult as only a rough estimate of the liver function can be made. Occasionally, patients may suffer from liver failure following radical surgery. On the other hand, some patients are wrongly judged unfit for surgery when the rough estimate suggests that they will not survive the procedure. With a better estimate of size and function in the liver residue more patients could be surgical candidates.

MR Technology Improves the Diagnostic Precision

With the help of MR it is possible to measure several parameters in the liver without invasive procedures. The MR also enables a better overview of the liver status as a whole compared to biopsies, as they only show status at the location where the sample is taken. If the biopsy is extracted from the wrong area there is a risk that important information is overlooked.

The magnetic resonance technology may, among other things, be used to measure the amount of fat in the liver, measure the uptake of a contrast agent to get an idea of how well the liver works and measure levels of many different elements, including iron and phosphorus compounds. In this project multimodal methods for analyzing the liver is developed.

Vibrations Find Fibrosis

One of the MR methods used is elastography. The examination shows fibrosis, formation of connective tissue, in the liver. The connective tissue makes the liver less flexible and impairs its normal elasticity. During MR mechanical vibrations are sent into the patient´s body. The vibrations are propagated differently depending on the flexibility of the tissue. Through registration of the different vibrations the MR-scanner can separate healthy from diseased tissue regions. 

I’m passionate about my research being closely related to healthcare. I always want to do things that are of direct value for the patient

Peter Lundberg, Professor

Project Manager
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Project Members
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Key Publications
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Patrik Nasr, Mikael F. Forsgren, Simone Ignatova, Nils Dahlström, Gunnar Cedersund, Olof Dahlqvist Leinhard, Bengt Norén, Mattias Ekstedt, Peter Lundberg, Stergios Kechagias (2017)

Gastroenterology , Vol.153 , s.53-+ Continue to DOI

Andre Homeyer, Patrik Nasr, Christiane Engel, Stergios Kechagias, Peter Lundberg, Mattias Ekstedt, Henning Kost, Nick Weiss, Tim Palmer, Horst Karl Hahn, Darren Treanor, Claes Lundström (2017)

Diagnostic Pathology , Vol.12 Continue to DOI

Mikael Forsgren, Olof Dahlqvist Leinhard, Nils Dahlström, Gunnar Cedersund, Peter Lundberg (2014)

PLoS ONE , Vol.9 , s.0095700- Continue to DOI

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