A Special Collection of Papers from the 25th European Symposium on Ultrasound Contrast Imaging
- The epidemic of increasing fatty liver disease and liver cancer worldwide, and especially in Western society, has given new importance to non-invasive liver imaging. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) using microbubble contrast agents provides unique advantages over computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the currently established methods. CEUS provides determination of malignancy and allows excellent differential diagnosis of a focal liver mass, based on arterial phase enhancement patterns and assessment of the timing and intensity of washout.
- Ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) have opened up immense diagnostic possibilities by combined use of indicator dilution principles and dynamic contrast-enhanced ultrasound (DCE-US) imaging. UCAs are microbubbles encapsulated in a biocompatible shell. With a rheology comparable to that of red blood cells, UCAs provide an intravascular indicator for functional imaging of the (micro)vasculature by quantitative DCE-US. Several models of the UCA intravascular kinetics have been proposed to provide functional quantitative maps, aiding diagnosis of different pathological conditions.
- Microbubble contrast agents were introduced more than 25 years ago with the objective of enhancing blood echoes and enabling diagnostic ultrasound to image the microcirculation. Cardiology and oncology waited anxiously for the fulfillment of that objective with one clinical application each: myocardial perfusion, tumor perfusion and angiogenesis imaging. What was necessary though at first was the scientific understanding of microbubble behavior in vivo and the development of imaging technology to deliver the original objective.
- Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is increasingly being used to identify patients with carotid plaques that are vulnerable to rupture, so-called vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques, by assessment of intraplaque neovascularization. A complete overview of the strengths and limitations of carotid CEUS is currently not available. The aim of this systematic review was to provide a complete overview of existing publications on the role of CEUS in assessment of carotid intraplaque neovascularization. The systematic review of the literature yielded 52 studies including a total of 4660 patients (mean age: 66 y, 71% male) who underwent CEUS for the assessment of intraplaque neovascularization.