CEUS underused in the U.S., experts say

2020 11 24 23 52 9427 Ultrasound Scanner Computerized 400

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is underutilized in the U.S., which may lead to greater risk for patients than side effects tied to contrast media use, said doctors who spoke at the 37th International Bubble Conference in Chicago.

The conference attracted CEUS experts from North America, Europe, China, and Brazil. It focused on advances in the use of microbubble ultrasound enhancing agents used routinely to diagnose heart and vascular disease, identify and characterize tumors, monitor chronic gastro-intestinal diseases, evaluate other serious medical conditions, and monitor therapy.

The experts who spoke at the conference highlighting CEUS' potential included Jordan Strom, MD, from Harvard Medical School, and Tom Porter, MD, from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and lead author of the International Contrast Ultrasound Society (ICUS) guidelines, according to ICUS.

Strom and Porter said that CEUS is safe and that dilution of the contrast imaging agent is key. They added that these agents present a rare risk of a severe allergic reaction in one out of 15,000 patients, compared with the risk of life-threatening actions in one out of 500 to one out of 5,000 patients from the iodinated contrast agents used for CT, they added.

Additionally, underuse of CEUS could lead to greater risk to patient health, the experts said. They highlighted that CEUS produces vital diagnostic information and in studies has been tied to reduced need for downstream imaging and cardiac catheterizations. They also reported that CEUS use has been linked to a reduced length of hospital stay in some patients.

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