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October 30, 2021 — Pediatric Radiology


Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) has been increasingly used in pediatric radiology practice worldwide. For nearly two decades, CEUS applications have been performed with the off-label use of gas-containing second-generation ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs). Since 2016, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the UCA Luma-son for three pediatric indications: the evaluation of focal liver lesions and echocardiography via intravenous administration and the assessment of vesicoureteral reflux via intravesical application (contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography, ceVUS). Prior to the FDA approval of Lumason, numerous studies with the use of second-generation UCAs had been conducted in adults and children. Comprehensive protocols for clinical safety evaluations have demonstrated the highly favorable safety profile of UCA for intravenous, intravesical and other intracavitary uses. The safety data on CEUS continue to accumulate as this imaging modality is increasingly utilized in clinical settings worldwide. As of August 2021, 57 pediatric-only original research studies encompassing a total of 4,518 children with 4,906 intravenous CEUS examinations had been published. As in adults, there were a few adverse events; the majority of these were non-serious, although very rarely serious anaphylac-tic reactions were reported. In the published pediatric-only intravenous CEUS studies included in our analysis, the overall incidence rate of serious adverse events was 0.22% (10/4,518) of children and 0.20% (10/4,906) of all CEUS examinations. Non-serious adverse events from the intravenous CEUS were observed in 1.20% (54/4,518) of children and 1.10% (54/4,906) of CEUS examinations. During the same time period, 31 studies with the intravesical use of UCA were conducted in 12,362 children. A few non-serious adverse events were encountered (0.31%; 38/12,362), but these were most likely attributable to the bladder catheterization rather than the UCA. Other developing clinical applications of UCA in children, including intracavitary and intralymphatic, are ongoing. To date, no serious adverse events have been reported with these applications. This article reviews the existing pediatric CEUS literature and provides an overview of safety-related information reported from UCA uses in children.

Aikaterini Ntoulia1; Sudha A. Anupindi1; Susan J. Back1; Ryne A. Didier1; Misun Hwang1; Ann M. Johnson1; M. Beth McCarville2; Frederica Papadopoulou3; Maciej Piskunowicz4; Maria E. Sellars5; Kassa Darge1

1 Department of Radiology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, USA
2 Department of Diagnostic Imaging, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA
3 Pediatric Ultrasound Center, Thessaloniki, Greece
4 Department of Radiology, Medical University of Gdansk, Poland
5 Department of Radiology, King’s College Hospital, London, UK

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