Safety of contrast-enhanced ultrasound in children for non-cardiac applications: a review by the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR) and the International Contrast Ultrasound Society (ICUS)
The practice of contrast-enhanced ultrasound in children is in the setting of off-label use or research. The widespread practice of pediatric contrast-enhanced US is primarily in Europe. There is ongoing effort by the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR) and International Contrast Ultrasound Society (ICUS) to push for pediatric contrast-enhanced US in the United States. With this in mind, the main objective of this review is to describe the status of US contrast agent safety in non-cardiac applications in children. The five published studies using pediatric intravenous contrast-enhanced US comprise 110 children. There is no mention of adverse events in these studies. From a European survey 948 children can be added. In that survey six minor adverse events were reported in five children. The intravesical administration of US contrast agents for diagnosis of vesicoureteric reflux entails the use of a bladder catheter. Fifteen studies encompassing 2,951 children have evaluated the safety of intravesical US contrast agents in children. A European survey adds 4,131 children to this group. No adverse events could be attributed to the contrast agent. They were most likely related to the bladder catheterization. The existing data on US contrast agent safety in children are encouraging in promoting the widespread use of contrast-enhanced US.