Back to Journals » Hepatic Medicine: Evidence and Research » Volume 5

Direct comparison of the FibroScan XL and M probes for assessment of liver fibrosis in obese and nonobese patients

Authors Durango E, Dietrich C, Seitz H, Kunz, Pomier-Layrargues G, Duarte-Rojo, Beaton M, Elkhashab, Myers, Mueller S 

Received 15 March 2013

Accepted for publication 3 May 2013

Published 4 July 2013 Volume 2013:5 Pages 43—52


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Esteban Durango,1,* Christian Dietrich,1,* Helmut Karl Seitz,1 Cornelia Ursula Kunz,2 Gilles T Pomier-Layrargues,3 Andres Duarte-Rojo,4 Melanie Beaton,5 Magdy Elkhashab,6 Robert P Myers,7 Sebastian Mueller1,3

1Department of Medicine and Center for Alcohol Research, Liver Disease and Nutrition, Salem Medical Center, 2Institute of Medical Biometry and Informatics, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany; 3Liver Unit, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Hôpital Saint-Luc, Montréal, Quebec, 4Toronto Western Hospital Liver Centre, Toronto, Ontario; 5Multi-Organ Transplant Unit, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario; 6The Toronto Liver Centre, Toronto, Ontario; 7Liver Unit, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

*These authors contributed equally to this research

Background: A novel Fibroscan XL probe has recently been introduced and validated for obese patients, and has a diagnostic accuracy comparable with that of the standard M probe. The aim of this study was to analyze and understand the differences between these two probes in nonobese patients, to identify underlying causes for these differences, and to develop a practical algorithm to translate results for the XL probe to those for the M probe.
Methods and results: Both probes were directly compared first in copolymer phantoms of varying stiffness (4.8, 11, and 40 kPa) and then in 371 obese and nonobese patients (body mass index, range 17.2–72.4) from German (n = 129) and Canadian (n = 242) centers. Liver stiffness values for both probes correlated better in phantoms than in patients (r = 0.98 versus 0.82, P < 0.001). Significantly more patients could be measured successfully using the XL probe than the M probe (98.4% versus 85.2%, respectively, P < 0.001) while the M probe produced a smaller interquartile range (21% versus 32%). Failure of the M probe to measure liver stiffness was not only observed in patients with a high body mass index and long skin-liver capsule distance but also in some nonobese patients (n = 10) due to quenching of the signal from subcutaneous fat tissue. In contrast with the phantoms, the XL probe consistently produced approximately 20% lower liver stiffness values in humans compared with the M probe. A long skin-liver capsule distance and a high degree of steatosis were responsible for this discordance. Adjustment of cutoff values for the XL probe (<5.5, 5.5–7, 7–10, and >10 kPa for F0, F1–2, F3, and F4 fibrosis, respectively) significantly improved agreement between the two probes from r = 0.655 to 0.679.
Conclusion: Liver stiffness can be measured in significantly more obese and nonobese patients using the XL probe than the M probe. However, the XL probe is less accurate and adjusted cutoff values are required.

Keywords: cirrhosis, liver fibrosis, liver stiffness, obesity, steatosis, transient elastography, M probe, XL probe

Creative Commons License © 2013 The Author(s). This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.