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August 3, 2021 — European Journal of Ultrasound


In recent years, the implementation of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in clinical practice has opened new horizons in the arterial pathologies research field, since this technique is able to supply new sets of data that can be crucial in patient management. The main applications of CEUS in the arterial system are the detection, characterization, and follow-up of carotid plaques and endoleaks after EVAR. Other situations in which CEUS was demonstrated to be a useful tool are large vessel vasculitis, dissections, and untreated aneurysms. In carotid atherosclerosis CEUS is not only able to acquire quantitative data about stenosis but also to perform a qualitative assessment of the plaque. The most important plaque features that CEUS is able to depict are ulceration, neovascularization, and the presence of inflammatory infiltrates. All of these factors contribute to plaque vulnerability. Thus, CEUS is crucial in order to allow better risk stratification and management of patients. In follow-up after EVAR, CEUS shows sensitivity and specificity values similar to CTA while ensuring several advantages, such as lower cost and the absence of ionizing radiation and nephrotoxic agents. Moreover, CEUS is able to offer real-time evaluation of endoleaks and thus is a useful tool in cases that are ambiguous on CTA. Most limitations are patient-related and are the same as in all other ultrasound techniques, such as high BMI and meteorism.

Authors: Vito Cantisani 1, Nicola Di Leo 1, Emanuele David 2, Dirk-André Clevert 3

1 Department of Radiological, Oncological and Anatomopathological Sciences-Radiology, „Sapienza“ University of Rome, Rome, Italy;  2 Radiological Sciences, Radiology Unit, Papardo-Hospital, Messina, Italy, Messina, Italy;  3 Department of Clinical Radiology, University of Munich-Großhadern Campus, Munich, Germany

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