JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Prospective evaluation of multiparametric ultrasound and quantitative elastosonography in the differential diagnosis of benign and malignant thyroid nodules: preliminary experience.

PURPOSE: To assess the clinical value of quantitative elastosonography compared with multiparametric ultrasound in differentiating the nature of thyroid nodules.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Ninety-seven consecutive patients (32 males, 65 females, mean age, 54 years, range 20-81 years) with thyroid nodules previously detected at color-Doppler ultrasound (CDUS), were prospectively examined with elastosonography with dedicated quantitative software (Elasto-Q, Toshiba) before surgery. Ultrasound examination and elastosonography were evaluated by two investigators in consensus. US features, color-Doppler pattern, and strain ratio value were evaluated. Sensitivity and specificity of CDUS and sono-elastography were compared using X(2) test and ROC curves.

RESULTS: Sensitivity and specificity of hypoechogenicity, irregular margins or suspicious halo features, CDUS blood flow pattern, and strain ratio in the diagnosis of malignant nodules were 56.8%, 62.2%, 54.1% and 97.3% and 71.7%, 93.3%, 28.3%, and 91.7%, respectively. Elastosonography was more sensitive and specific than all ultrasonographic features in predicting malignancy of the thyroid nodules (p<0.0001). According to elastosonographic features the lesions characterized by strain ratio ≥ 2 were highly likely to be of malignant nature (p<0.0001, O.R. 396, 95%, CI: 44-3530).

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study suggest that elastosonography with Q system is a valuable tool in the characterization of thyroid nodules and it seems to be far more accurate than CDUS. These findings as well as those of previous studies support its use in selecting patients who are candidates for surgery.

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