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Keywords:

  • CEUS ;
  • focal liver lesion;
  • harmonic imaging;
  • hepatic;
  • sonography

Abstract

Background

International guidelines of Ultrasound recommend the performance of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) as the first method of choice after conventional ultrasound for the diagnostic work-up of focal liver lesions. However, these recommendations are based on the results of multiple single studies and only few large multicentre studies.

Aims

The rationale of the present systematic review and meta-analysis was to assess the overall sensitivity and specificity of CEUS for the diagnosis of malignant liver lesions.

Methods

Literature databases were searched up to March 2012. Inclusion criteria were evaluation of CEUS, assessment of sensitivity and specificity of CEUS for the diagnosis of malignant liver lesions. The meta-analysis was performed using the random-effects model based on the DerSimonian Laird method. Quality analyses were carried out to assess sources of heterogeneity.

Results

A total of 45 studies with 8147 focal liver lesions were included in the analysis. Overall sensitivity and specificity of CEUS for the diagnosis of malignant liver lesions was 93% (95%-CI: 91–95%) and 90% (95%-CI: 88–92%) respectively. Significant heterogeneity was found between studies. However, subanalysis revealed no significant difference when evaluating studies using histology for all liver lesions, when comparing high-quality and low-quality studies, and blinded vs non-blinded studies.

Conclusion

The results of this meta-analysis support the international recommendations on CEUS for the diagnostic work-up of focal liver lesions selecting patients who need further diagnostics.