Contrast-enhanced harmonic endoscopic ultrasonography in the differential diagnosis of gallbladder wall thickening

Hiroo Imazu, Naoki Mori, Keisuke Kanazawa, Masafumi Chiba, Hirobumi Toyoizumi, Yuichi Torisu, Seita Koyama, Shoryoku Hino, Tiing Leong Ang, Hisao Tajiri
Digestive Diseases and Sciences 2014, 59 (8): 1909-16

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Differentiation of gallbladder (GB) carcinoma from benign GB wall thickening is challenging. The recent introduction of second-generation ultrasonic contrast agents has made contrast harmonic imaging with EUS possible. The aim of our study was to evaluate the utility of contrast-enhanced harmonic EUS (CH-EUS) for the differential diagnosis of GB wall thickening.

METHODS: Thirty-six consecutive patients with GB wall thickening imaged by CH-EUS and then underwent surgery were enrolled in this study. After the lesions were observed with conventional harmonic EUS (H-EUS), CH-EUS was performed with intravenous injection of 0.015 ml/kg of Sonazoid. Three reviewers with various levels of experience of EUS (Reviewer A: experienced endosonographer, B: EUS trainee, C: experienced gastroenterologist with expertise in transabdominal ultrasound but no EUS experience) were blinded to findings of recorded video of H-EUS and CH-EUS. The diagnostic accuracy of H-EUS and CH-EUS for malignant GB wall thickening was compared.

RESULTS: Final diagnoses based on surgical histology were GB carcinoma in 16, cholecystitis in 11, adenomyomatosis in 6 and cholesterolosis in 3. Overall sensitivity, specificity and accuracy for diagnosing malignant GB wall thickening of H-EUS and CH-EUS were 83.3 versus 89.6, 65 versus 98% (p < 0.001) and 73.1 versus 94.4% (p < 0.001). The inter-observer agreement for H-EUS was moderate (κ = 0.51), whereas that for CH-EUS was substantial (κ = 0.77). The inhomogeneous enhanced pattern on CH-EUS was a strong predictive factor of malignant GB wall thickening.

CONCLUSION: CH-EUS has the potential to improve the preoperative diagnostic accuracy and inter-observer agreement in the differential diagnosis of GB wall thickening.

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