Contrast-enhanced ultrasound in abdominal trauma

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Abstract

Increasing evidence supports a role for contrast-enhanced ultrasound in the assessment of blunt abdominal trauma. Accurate definition of organ injury can be demonstrated, as well as extension to solid organ capsule and even vascular injury. Low-dose contrast is needed for renal imaging, to avoid obscuration of deeper structures from intense cortical enhancement. The liver should be evaluated in the arterial phase for active bleeding and in the late phase for lacerations. The spleen is best assessed in the delayed phase, thereby limiting misinterpretation of early heterogeneous contrast uptake. Typical sonographic features of traumatic injuries of the solid abdominal organs are described. Although contrast-enhanced computed tomography is the gold standard modality for imaging abdominal organ traumatic injury, contrast-enhanced ultrasound has developed a role in the emergency setting, particularly in low-energy injuries and in follow-up of traumatic injuries.

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