, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 1066-1073
Date: 27 Oct 2006

Characterization of focal liver lesions: comparative study of contrast-enhanced ultrasound versus spiral computed tomography

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The purpose of this study was to compare the diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) with spiral computed tomography (SCT) for the characterization of focal liver lesions (FLL) and to determine the degree of correlation between the two techniques. Seventy-seven FLL (45 hepatocellular carcinomas; 12 metastases; ten hemangiomas; two regenerating/dysplastic nodules; eight focal nodular hyperplasias) detected with ultrasound (US) were prospectively evaluated by CEUS using a second-generation contrast agent and SCT (with an interval of no more than one month between the two techniques). Independent observers made the most probable diagnosis and the results were compared with the final diagnoses (histology n = 59; MRI n = 18). Statistical analysis was performed by the Chi-square and Kappa tests. CEUS provided a correct, specific diagnosis in 69/77 (90%) of the FLL, while SCT did so in 67/77 (87%). The sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy for malignancy were 91%, 90%, and 91%, respectively, for CEUS and 88%, 89%, and 88%, respectively, for SCT. No statistically significant difference was found between CEUS and SCT in the characterization of FLL (p > 0.05). In addition, agreement between the two imaging techniques was good (k = 0.75). We conclude that CEUS and SCT provide a similar diagnostic accuracy in the characterization of FLL, with a good degree of correlation between the two techniques.