A Narrative Review on Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound in Aortic Endograft Endoleak Surveillance

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Abstract

Endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms have been performed successfully since 1991. However, 20% to 50% of these patients may develop an endoleak or continued aneurysmal sac expansion or perfusion despite stent graft coverage. Current recommendations suggest lifelong surveillance with computed tomographic angiography (CTA) at least 1 month after intervention and yearly after that. In select patients with a stable aneurysm sac on computed tomography performed 1 year after treatment, future screening could be performed with ultrasonography. However, color Doppler ultrasound can fail to detect as many as 31% of endoleaks. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) provides an alternative approach to excluded aneurysm sac follow-up imaging. The Society for Vascular Surgery notes a need for further research on the role of CEUS in endovascular aortic repair surveillance. The European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology suggests that early results are promising. Meta-analyses report pooled sensitivities and specificities of CEUS compared with CTA for the detection of endoleak between 89% and 98% and 86% and 88%, respectively. Owing to the dynamic flow information it provides, CEUS may actually be more sensitive than CTA at detection and characterization in select circumstances. Challenges with adoption, patient selection, and operator dependency remain, but current and future research suggests a role for CEUS in endoleak surveillance.

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