The Virtual Touch Quantification (VTq; Siemens) software application uses acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging technology to measure the elasticity of liver tissue. VTq is used in combination with a Siemens Acuson S2000 or S3000 ultrasound platform. Liver tissue can be damaged by inflammation, causing high levels of collagen to be deposited in the liver cells (fibrosis), which become stiff. ARFI imaging involves generating a shear wave by applying an acoustic 'push pulse' lateral to the area of interest identified during a conventional ultrasound scan. The speed of the shear wave is proportional to the stiffness of the tissue.
The report concluded that VTq should be considered as an option for people with chronic hepatitis B or C who need assessment of liver fibrosis. VTq is as accurate as transient elastography in diagnosing and staging liver fibrosis, and may offer other benefits in terms of imaging the liver and sampling selected areas. By avoiding liver biopsies, it may also benefit people whose liver fibrosis needs monitoring. Cost modelling suggests that VTq is cost saving compared with transient elastography and liver biopsy, whether or not a compatible Siemens ultrasound machine needs to be purchased.
Published September 2015
NICE page: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/mtg27