Hepatic contrast-enhanced ultrasound: Impact of its introduction in the Australian context

Authors


  • SY Won MBBS, FRANZCR; N Singh MBBS (Hons), FRANZCR; BG Lim MBBS, FRANZCR; D Stella MBBS, FRANZCR; R Gibson MBBS, FRANZCR.
  • Conflict of interest: None.

Abstract

Introduction

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is a relatively new imaging modality in Australia. We discuss our early experience with CEUS at Royal Melbourne Hospital in assessment of focal liver lesions and its clinical impact.

Method

Radiology department and hospital computerised information systems were used to identify and collate information regarding the indication, previous and follow-up imaging, CEUS findings and subsequent final diagnoses of patients who underwent hepatic CEUS from 12/12/2007 to 20/4/2012.

Results

A total of 388 hepatic CEUS were performed, examining 409 lesions. The cases were grouped as either ‘initial study’ or ‘follow-up’ group, with main focus on the former group. Of the 367 lesions in the ‘initial study’ group, CEUS was able to distinguish benign from malignant pathology in 344 cases (93.8%). This was especially beneficial in setting of known malignancy with indeterminate liver lesions found on CT to confidently exclude metastatic disease. For 124 of 162 patients who had an incidentally detected indeterminate liver lesion, CEUS was the final imaging investigation required to make a diagnosis.

Conclusion

CEUS is a valuable tool in assessment of focal liver lesions in conjunction with other conventional modalities in a variety of clinical settings. In particular, it provided definitive diagnosis in a significant proportion of incidentally identified liver lesions many of which are benign, saving patient anxiety and further unnecessary follow-up.

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