Accuracy of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in the identification and characterization of traumatic solid organ lesions in children: a retrospective comparison with baseline US and CE-MDCT
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Localized low-energy abdominal trauma is very frequent in the pediatric population. The findings of several studies have shown that ultrasonography (US) can represent a useful and cost-effective tool in the evaluation of blunt abdominal trauma both in adults and children. However, many parenchymal injuries are not correctly visualized at baseline US examination. The introduction of specific US contrast agents contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) has enabled a better identification of traumatic organ injuries. The correct use of CEUS could therefore identify and select the children who need further diagnostic investigation computed tomography (CT), avoiding unnecessary radiation and iodinated contrast medium exposure. The purpose of our study was to assess the sensibility and feasibility of CEUS in the assessment of low-energy abdominal trauma compared to baseline US in pediatric patients, using contrast-enhanced MDCT as the reference standard.
Materials and methods
We retrospectively reviewed 73 children (51 M and 22 F; mean age 8.7 ± 2.8 years) who presented in our Emergency Department between October 2012 and October 2013, with history of minor abdominal trauma according to the Abbreviated Injury Scale and who underwent US, CEUS, and CE-MDCT. Inclusion criteria were: male or female, aged 0–16, hemodynamically stable patients with a history of minor blunt abdominal trauma. Exclusion criteria were adulthood, hemodynamical instability, history of major trauma. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV, and accuracy were determined for US and CEUS compared to MDCT.
6/73 patients were negative at US, CEUS, and MDCT for the presence of organ injuries. In the remaining 67 patients, US depicted 26/67 parenchymal lesions. CEUS identified 67/67 patients (67/67) with parenchymal lesions: 21 lesions of the liver (28.8 %), 26 lesions of the spleen (35.6 %), 7 lesions of right kidney (9.6 %), 13 lesions of left kidney. MDCT confirmed all parenchymal lesions (67/67). Thus, the diagnostic performance of CEUS was better than that of US, as sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV, and accuracy were 100, 100, 100, 100, and 100 % for CEUS and 38.8, 100, 100, 12.8, and 44 % for US. In some patients CEUS identified also prognostic factors as parenchymal active bleeding in 8 cases, partial devascularization in 1 case; no cases of vascular bleeding, no cases of urinoma. MDCT confirmed all parenchymal lesions. Parenchymal active bleeding was identified in 16 cases, vascular bleeding in 2 cases, urinoma in 2 cases, partial devascularization in 1 case.
CEUS is more sensitive and accurate than baseline US and almost as sensitive as CT in the identification and characterization of solid organs lesions in blunt abdominal trauma. CT is more sensitive and accurate than CEUS in identifying prognostic indicators, as active bleeding and urinoma. CEUS should be considered as a useful tool in the assessment and monitoring of blunt abdominal trauma in children.
KeywordsBlunt abdominal trauma Solid organ injury Children minor trauma Contrast-enhanced ultrasound Contrast media Multidetector computed tomography Emergency radiology
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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