Purpose: The objectives of our study were to assess the accuracy of hepatorenal index (HRI) in detection and grading of hepatic steatosis and to evaluate various factors that can affect the HRI measurement. Methods: Forty-five patients, who had undergone an abdominal sonographic examination within 30 days of liver biopsy, were enrolled. The HRI was calculated as the ratio of the mean brightness levels of the liver and renal parenchymas. The effect of the measurement technique on the HRI was evaluated by using various sizes, depths, and locations of the regions of interest (ROIs) in the liver. The measurements were obtained by two observers. The HRI was compared with the subjective grading of steatosis. Results: The optimal HRI cutoff to detect steatosis was 2.01, yielding a sensitivity of 62.5% and specificity of 95.2%. Subjective grading had a sensitivity of 87.5% and specificity of 62.5%. HRIs of the hepatic steatosis group were statistically different from the no-steatosis group (p < 0.05). However, there was no statistically significant difference between mild steatosis and no-steatosis groups (p value = 0.72). There was a strong correlation between different HRIs based on variable placements of ROIs, except when the ROIs were positioned randomly. Interclass correlation coefficient for measurements performed by two observers was 0.74 (confidence interval: 0.58–0.86). Conclusions: The HRI is an effective tool for detecting hepatic steatosis. It provides similar accuracy for different methods of ROI placement (except for random placement) and has good interobserver agreement. It, however, is unable to effectively differentiate between absent and mild steatosis.
- hepatic steatosis
- hepatorenal index