Advantages and Limitations of Focal Liver Lesion Assessment with Ultrasound Contrast Agents: Comments on the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB) Guidelines
Chiorean L., Tana C., Braden B., Caraiani C., Sparchez Z., Cui X-W., Baum U., Dietrich CF.
Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) represents a significant breakthrough in sonography. Due to US contrast agents (UCAs) and contrast-specific techniques, sonography offers the potential to show enhancement of liver lesions in a similar way as contrast-enhanced cross-sectional imaging techniques. The real-time assessment of liver perfusion throughout the vascular phases, without any risk of nephrotoxicity, represents one of the major advantages that this technique offers. CEUS has led to a dramatic improvement in the diagnostic accuracy of US and subsequently has been included in current guidelines as an important step in the diagnostic workup of focal liver lesions (FLLs), resulting in a better patient management and cost-effective therapy. The purpose of this review was to provide a detailed description of contrast agents used in different cross-sectional imaging procedures for the study of FLLs, focusing on characteristics, indications and advantages of UCAs in clinical practice.