Characterization of Focal Liver Lesions using Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound as a First Line Method: a Large Monocentric Experience
Aim: To present a large monocentric experience in the characterization of focal liver lesions (FLLs) using Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS).
Method: A retrospective study was performed in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Department, Timisoara, including 1100 patients with 1329 FLLs evaluated between September 2009 and January 2013. A CEUS examination was considered conclusive if the FLL respected the typical enhancement pattern as described in the EFSUMB Guidelines.
Results: From the 1329 FLLs, CEUS was conclusive for a specific pathology in 1102 cases (82.9%). For the differentiation of benign/malignant lesions, CEUS reached a conclusive diagnosis in 1196 (90%) cases. The percentage of conclusive CEUS examinations was significantly higher in patients without chronic liver disease as compared with those with chronic hepatopathies: 87.3% vs. 74.4% (p<0.0001).
Conclusion: CEUS patterns of enhancement fell into clear cut specific diagnostic patterns in 83% of the FLLs discovered by US, and into clear cut benign versus malignant patterns in 90% of the cases. For this reason, we can strongly recommend CEUS as a first line imaging method to characterize FLLs found at US, at least in centers with a good experience in CEUS.