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Acad Radiol. 2010 Dec;17(12):1492-7. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2010.07.007. Epub 2010 Oct 6.

Quantitative evaluation of the peripheral nerve blood perfusion with high frequency contrast-enhanced ultrasound.

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Department of Ultrasound, Chinese People's Liberation Army General Hospital, Beijing, China.



The blood perfusion of peripheral nerves plays an important role in regeneration after nerve injury. Previous studies have shown that it is possible to quantitatively assess the blood perfusion of the tissue using contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS). The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of CEUS for quantitative assessment of the blood perfusion of the sciatic nerve in normal New Zealand white rabbits and to compare these parameters to those of surrounding skeletal muscle and the main artery in the thigh.


CEUS of the bilateral sciatic nerves was performed in 12 normal New Zealand white rabbits after a bolus injection of SonoVue (0.13 mL/kg). Pulse-inversion harmonic imaging was used for real-time CEUS. The blood perfusion of the left sciatic nerve was compared to that of its surrounding muscle, the arterial branch in the thigh, and the contralateral side.


The supplying arteries in the sciatic nerve could be demonstrated during the early phase of CEUS, followed by the homogeneous enhancement of the whole nerve. The area under the curve and the perfusion index of the sciatic nerve were higher than those of the surrounding muscle and lower than those of the arterial branch in the thigh (both P values = .000). The maximum intensity of the sciatic nerve was similar to that of skeletal muscle and lower than that of the arterial branch. The time to peak was not significantly different among the sciatic nerve, skeletal muscle, and arterial branch (P = .551). There were no differences in area under the curve, mean transit time, perfusion index, maximum intensity, and time to peak between the left and right sciatic nerves (P > .05).


CEUS may be a feasible method for the quantitative assessment of blood perfusion of the peripheral nerves.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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