PURPOSE: To evaluate the capabilities of Pulse Inversion Harmonic Imaging (PIHI) with hepatospecific US contrast agent Levovist in the characterization of focal liver lesions in cirrhotic patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-nine focal hepatic lesions in 25 consecutive cirrhotic patients identified by conventional ultrasound (US), were evaluated by color Doppler (CD), power Doppler (PD) with spectral analysis of tumoural vessels and PIHI. PIHI was performed 30 seconds (vascular phase) and 3-5 minutes (late phase) after Levovist injection. To definitely characterize the evaluated focal hepatic lesions, helical-CT (HCT) enhancement patterns (15 patients) and/or surgical/bioptic histologic findings (10 patients) were considered as reference procedures.
RESULTS: Thirty focal hepatic lesions classified as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by reference procedures appeared hypoechoic (n=19), isoechoic (n=5) or hyperechoic (n=6) on conventional US, with basket arterial pattern (n=10), vessels within the tumor (n=6), peripheral arterial pattern (n=4) or no vascular pattern (n=10) on CD/PD evaluation. On PIHI they appeared hyperechoic (n=26) or isoechoic (n=4) in the vascular phase, if compared to the surrounding liver parenchyma, and hypoechoic (n=23) or isoechoic (n=7) in the late phase. Four focal hepatic lesions classified as regenerative nodules (RNs) by reference procedures appeared hypoechoic on conventional US, with peripheral venous/arterial pattern (n=1) or no vascular pattern (n=3) on CD/PD. On PIHI they appeared hypoechoic (n=3) or isoechoic (n=1) in the vascular phase, remaining prevalently hypoechoic (n=3) or isoechoic (n=1) in the late phase. Five focal hepatic lesions classified as hemangioma by reference procedures appeared hyperechoic (n=4) or hypoechoic (n=1) on conventional US with few peripheral venous vessels on CD/PD. On PIHI they revealed progressive fill-in from the periphery toward the centre during the vascular and late phase after Levovist injection.
CONCLUSIONS: PIHI seems to be a reliable technique to characterize focal lesions in cirrhotic patients.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2002|
- Carcinoma, Hepatocellular
- Contrast Media
- Liver Cirrhosis
- Liver Neoplasms
- Middle Aged
- Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color