JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Contrast-enhanced sonography in the diagnosis of renal artery stenosis: comparison with MR-angiography].

PURPOSE: To investigate the diagnostic accuracy of non-enhanced Colour-Doppler US and enhanced power-Doppler US in the diagnosis of renal artery stenosis compared with breath-hold Gd-DOTA-enhanced MR-angiography. Digital subtraction angiography (DSA) provided the gold standard.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 51 patients (19 women and 32 men, age ranging from 29 to 76 years) with clinical suspicion of renovascular hypertension underwent Colour-Doppler US of the renal artery; 11 subjects (21.6%) were excluded from the study as a complete and bilateral depiction of renal artery was not obtained. The remaining 40 subjects (14 women and 26 men) were investigated with power-Doppler US with time-intensity renal enhancement curve and with MR-Angiography. All of these subjects were also studied by DSA which provided the gold standard.

RESULTS: As stated, in 11 of 51 patients the diagnostic work-up was not completed because the initial US examination failed to depict the renal arteries. DSA showed renal artery stenosis in 16 of the remaining 40 patients. The sensitivity and specificity in diagnosing stenoses were 75% and 79.1% for conventional colour-Doppler US, 100% and 87.5% for enhanced power-Doppler US and 100% and 91.6% for MR-angiography.

CONCLUSIONS: MR-angiography is the most reliable technique in the diagnosis of renal artery stenosis. The sensitivity and specificity of enhanced power-Doppler US are superior to those of colour-Doppler US. Although MR-Angiography enables a better evaluation of renal artery stenosis, the good diagnostic accuracy of enhanced power-Doppler US, its greater acceptance by the patients and its wider diffusion support the use of this technique in the screening of patients with clinical suspicion of renovascular hypertension.

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