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J Ultrasound. 2018 Dec 8. doi: 10.1007/s40477-018-0346-x. [Epub ahead of print]

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in pediatric blunt abdominal trauma.

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Department of Emergency Radiology, S. Camillo Hospital, Rome, Italy.
Department of Radiology, Ospedale del Mare, Naples, Italy.
Department of Radiology, Careggi University Hospital, L.go G.A. Brambilla, 3, 50134, Florence, Italy.


Baseline ultrasound is the first-choice technique in traumatic hemodynamically stable children, and is essential in the early assessment of unstable patients to detect hemoperitoneum or other potentially fatal conditions. Despite the technological advancements in new ultrasound equipment and the experience of the operators, it is not always possible to rule out the presence of parenchymal traumatic lesions by means of baseline ultrasound nor to suspect them, especially in the absence of hemoperitoneum. For this reason, in the last decades, basic ultrasound has been associated with contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) to evaluate the stable little patient in cases such as low-energy blunt abdominal trauma. Because it relies on second-generation contrast agents, the CEUS technique allows for better detection of parenchymal injuries. CEUS has been demonstrated to be almost as sensitive as contrast-enhanced CT in the detection of traumatic injuries in patients affected by low-energy isolated abdominal trauma, with levels of sensitivity and specificity up to 95%. A very important point in favor of CEUS is its capacity to help distinguish the healthy patient, who can be discharged, from the one needing prolonged monitoring, operative management or hospitalization. Finally, we also have the ability to follow-up on low-grade traumatic lesions using CEUS, always keeping in mind patients' clinical conditions and their hemodynamics.


CEUS; Contrast-enhanced ultrasound; Emergency radiology; Follow-up; Pediatric blunt abdominal trauma; Trauma imaging


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