La radiologia medica

, Volume 120, Issue 2, pp 180–189 | Cite as

Blunt abdominal trauma: role of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in the detection and staging of abdominal traumatic lesions compared to US and CE-MDCT

  • Barbara Sessa
  • Margherita Trinci
  • Stefania Ianniello
  • Guendalina Menichini
  • Michele Galluzzo
  • Vittorio Miele
Abdominal Radiology



This study was undertaken to evaluate the accuracy of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in the detection and grading of abdominal traumatic lesions in patients with low-energy isolated abdominal trauma in comparison with baseline ultrasound (US) and contrast-enhanced multidetector computed tomography (CE-MDCT), considered the gold standard.

Materials and methods

A total of 256 consecutive patients who arrived in our Emergency Department between January 2006 and December 2012 (159 males and 97 females aged 7–82 years; mean age 41 years), with a history of low-energy isolated abdominal trauma were retrospectively analysed. All patients underwent US, CEUS with the use of a second-generation contrast agent (Sonovue, Bracco, Milan, Italy) and MDCT. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV) and overall accuracy for the detection of lesions and free peritoneal fluid on US and CEUS, and sensitivity for the grading of lesions on CEUS were calculated compared with the CT findings, in accordance with the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma criteria.


CE-MDCT identified 84 abdominal traumatic lesions (liver = 28, spleen = 35, kidney = 21) and 45 cases of free intraperitoneal fluid. US depicted 50/84 traumatic lesions and 41/45 cases of free peritoneal fluid; CEUS identified 81/84 traumatic lesions and 41/45 free peritoneal fluid. The sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV and overall accuracy for the identification of traumatic abdominal lesions were 59, 99, 98, 83 and 86 %, respectively, for US and 96, 99, 98, 98 and 98 %, respectively, for CEUS. The values for the identification of haemoperitoneum were 91, 99, 95, 98 and 97 %, respectively, for US and 95, 99, 95, 99 and 98 %, respectively, for CEUS. CEUS successfully staged 72/81 traumatic lesions with a sensitivity of 88 %.


In patients with low-energy isolated abdominal trauma US should be replaced by CEUS as the first-line approach, as it shows a high sensitivity both in lesion detection and grading. CE-MDCT must always be performed in CEUS-positive patients to exclude active bleeding and urinomas.


Traumatic injury Hematoma Laceration Active bleeding Urinoma Ultrasound Contrast-enhanced ultrasound Second-generation blood-pool contrast agent Contrast-enhanced multidetector computed tomography 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Medical Radiology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Sessa
    • 1
  • Margherita Trinci
    • 1
  • Stefania Ianniello
    • 1
  • Guendalina Menichini
    • 1
  • Michele Galluzzo
    • 1
  • Vittorio Miele
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cardiovascular and Emergency RadiologySan Camillo HospitalRomeItaly

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