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Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS): applications from the kidneys to the bladder.

Abdominal Radiology 2024 June 18
Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is an advanced ultrasound (US) technique utilizing ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) to provide detailed visualization of anatomic and vascular architecture, including the depiction of microcirculation. CEUS has been well-established in echocardiography and imaging of focal hepatic lesions and recent studies have also shown the utility of CEUS in non-hepatic applications like the urinary system. The updated guidelines by the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB) from 2018 describe the use of CEUS for non-hepatic applications. CEUS' excellent safety profile and spatial resolution make it a superior modality to conventional US and is often comparable and even superior to CECT in some instances. In comparison to other cross-sectional imaging modalities such as CECT or MRI, CEUS offers a safe (by virtue of non-nephrotoxic US contrast agents), accurate, cost-efficient, readily available, and a quick means of evaluation of multiple pathologies of the urinary system. CEUS also has the potential to reduce the overall economic burden on patients requiring long-term follow-up due to its low cost as compared to CT or MRI techniques. This comprehensive review focuses on the applications of CEUS in evaluating the urinary system from the kidneys to the urinary bladder. CEUS can be utilized in the kidney to evaluate complex cystic lesions, indeterminate lesions, pseudotumors (vs solid renal tumors), renal infections, and renal ischemic disorders. Additionally, CEUS has also been utilized in evaluating renal transplants. In the urinary bladder, CEUS is extremely useful in differentiating a bladder hematoma and bladder cancer when conventional US techniques show equivocal results. Quantitative parameters of time-intensity curves (TICs) of CEUS examinations have also been studied to stage and grade bladder cancers. Although promising, further research is needed to definitively stage bladder cancers and classify them as muscle-invasive or non-muscle invasive using quantitative CEUS to guide appropriate intervention. CEUS has been very effective in the classification of cystic renal lesions, however, further research is needed in differentiating benign from malignant renal masses.

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