Abdominal Imaging

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 9-16

First online:

Active abdominal bleeding: contrast-enhanced sonography

  • O. CatalanoAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, Istituto Pascale Email author 
  • , B. CusatiAffiliated withDepartment of Diagnostic Imaging, S. Maria delle Grazie Hospital
  • , A. NunziataAffiliated withDepartment of Diagnostic Imaging, PSI Napoli Est
  • , A. SianiAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, Istituto Pascale

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Active contrast medium extravasation is a recognized and important angiographic and computed tomographic (CT) sign of bleeding. It is an indicator of active, ongoing, and potentially life-threatening hemorrhage and, hence, of the need for an immediate surgical or interventional treatment. Sonography (US) is frequently used as the first imaging option for screening patients with traumatic and nontraumatic abdominal emergencies. Owing to the current possibilities of low-mechanical index, real-time, contrast-specific systems, it is now possible to detect a contrast leakage by using US. This finding opens new possibilities in the assessment and management of several abdominal emergencies, including trauma (initial workup and monitoring), spontaneous hematomas, and rupture of aneurysms or masses. This article describes the technique, findings, possibilities, and limitations of contrast-enhanced US in the evaluation of active abdominal bleeding.


Sonography, contrast media Hemorrhage, contrast extravasation Blunt abdominal trauma, sonography Nontraumatic abdominal emergencies, sonography