Small hepatic nodules (≤2 cm) in cirrhosis patients: characterization with contrast-enhanced ultrasonography
Article first published online: 5 SEP 2006
Volume 26, Issue 8, pages 928–934, October 2006
How to Cite
Wang, J.-H., Lu, S.-N., Hung, C.-H., Chen, T.-Y., Chen, C.-H., Changchien, C.-S. and Lee, C.-M. (2006), Small hepatic nodules (≤2 cm) in cirrhosis patients: characterization with contrast-enhanced ultrasonography. Liver International, 26: 928–934. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2006.01318.x
- Issue published online: 5 SEP 2006
- Article first published online: 5 SEP 2006
- Received 24 January 2006,accepted 5 June 2006
- contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS);
- hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC);
- liver cirrhosis;
Abstract: Aim: We evaluated the efficacy of contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS) for the characterization of small hepatic nodules (≤2 cm) in cirrhosis patients.
Patients and methods: Thirty cirrhosis patients with 30 hepatic nodules (1–2 cm) were enrolled in this study. Eighteen hepatic nodules were hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) and 12 were benign lesions. CEUS was performed using microbubble contrast (Levovist). With surrounding hepatic parenchyma as a reference, two characteristics of hepatic nodules, including arterial phase enhancement (AE) and the absence of delayed phase enhancement (ADE), were evaluated as criteria for the diagnosis of HCC. A radiologist independently reviewed the dynamic computed tomographies (CT) of 26 hepatic nodules.
Results: CEUS showed AE in 15 nodules (13 HCC and two benign) and ADE in 17 lesions (14 HCC and three benign). For HCC, the coincidental AE of both CEUS and dynamic CT was 40%. Using both AE and ADE for HCC diagnosis, the sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, positive predictive value and negative predictive values were 55.6%, 91.7%, 70%, 90.9% and 57.9%, respectively. When using either AE or ADE for HCC diagnosis, the same parameters were 94.4%, 66.7%, 83.3%, 81% and 88.9%, respectively. One benign hepatic nodule with both AE and ADE was diagnosed as HCC 29 months after the CEUS study.
Conclusions: A combination of characteristics of AE and ADE as determined by CEUS was highly specific for small HCCs in cirrhosis patients. Concurrent delayed phase imaging is useful in the diagnosis of small hypovascular HCCs.