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May 1, 2020 — ScienceDirect – Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology


The epidemic of increasing fatty liver disease and liver cancer worldwide, and especially in Western society, has given new importance to non-invasive liver imaging. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) using microbubble contrast agents provides unique advantages over computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the currently established methods. CEUS provides determination of malignancy and allows excellent differential diagnosis of a focal liver mass, based on arterial phase enhancement patterns and assessment of the timing and intensity of washout. Today, increased use of CEUS has provided safe and rapid diagnosis of incidentally detected liver masses, improved multidisciplinary management of nodules in a cirrhotic liver, facilitated ablative therapy for liver tumors and allowed diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma without biopsy. Benefits of CEUS include the dynamic real-time depiction of tumor perfusion and the fact that it is a purely intravascular agent, accurately reflecting tumoral and inflammatory blood flow. CEUS has many similarities to contrast-enhanced CT and MRI but also unique differences, which are described. The integration of CEUS into a multimodality imaging setting optimizes patient care.

Authors: Stephanie R. Wilson *, Peter N. Burns †, Yuko Kono ‡

* Department of Radiology, and Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Foothills Medical Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

†Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Imaging Research, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

‡Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA

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