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Pediatr Radiol. 2015 Sep;45(10):1496-505. doi: 10.1007/s00247-015-3355-3. Epub 2015 May 1.

Contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography: in vitro evaluation of a second-generation ultrasound contrast agent for in vivo optimization.

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Department of Radiology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 34th Street & Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA,



Pediatric contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is primarily performed outside the United States where a track record for safety in intravenous and intravesical applications has been established. Contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography (ceVUS) has also been shown to have a much higher rate of vesicoureteral reflux detection compared to voiding cystourethrography. US contrast agents available in the United States differ from those abroad. Optison® (GE Healthcare, Princeton, NJ) is such an US contrast agent. While Optison® has similar characteristics to other second-generation agents, it has never been used for ceVUS. In vitro optimization of dose and imaging parameters as well as assessment of contrast visualization when delivered in conditions similar to ceVUS are necessary starting points prior to in vivo applications.


To optimize the intravesical use of Optison® in vitro for ceVUS before its use in pediatric studies.


The experimental design simulated intravesical use. Using 9- and 12-MHz linear transducers, we scanned 20-mL syringes varying mechanical index, US contrast agent concentration (0.25%, 0.5%, 1.0%), solvent (saline, urine, radiographic contrast agent) and time out of refrigeration. We evaluated mechanical index settings and contrast duration, optimized the contrast dose, measured the effect of urine and radiographic contrast agent, and the impact of length of time of contrast outside of the refrigerator on US contrast appearance. We scanned 50-ml saline bags to assess the appearance and duration of US contrast with different delivery systems (injection vs. infusion).


Consistent contrast visualization was achieved at a mechanical index of 0.06-0.17 and 0.11-0.48 for the L9 and L12 MHz transducers (P < 0.01), respectively. Thus, it was necessary to increase the mechanical index for better contrast visualization of the microbubbles with a higher transducer frequency. The lowest mechanical index for earliest visible microbubble destruction was 0.21 for the 9 MHz and 0.39 for the 12 MHz (P < 0.01) transducers. The 0.5% US contrast agent volume to bladder filling was the most optimal. At this concentration, the mean time to visualize homogenous contrast was 2 min and destruction of approximately half of the microbubbles in the field of view occurred in 7.8 min using the 9-MHz transducer. During contrast infusion, the contrast dose needed to be reduced to 0.12% for maintenance of optimal visualization of microbubbles. There was no deleterious effect on the visualization of contrast in the presence of urine or radiographic contrast agent. Infusion of the US contrast agent speeded visualization of homogeneous enhancement compared with injection. Time outside refrigeration did not affect contrast performance.


Transducer mechanical index settings need to be optimized. A very low dose of the US contrast agent Optison® will suffice for intravesical application, i.e. 0.12% to 0.50% of the bladder filling volume. The presence of urine or radiographic contrast agent did not compromise contrast visualization. The best mode of administration is the infusion method due to fast homogenous distribution at the lowest dose of 0.12%. Leaving the US contrast agent outside the refrigerator for an hour does not affect the microbubbles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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