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Emerging applications of contrast-enhanced ultrasound in pediatric imaging

From the March 2019 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

In addition to the diagnostic benefits of CEUS, novel scientific advancements in image processing methods now allow production of quantifiable metrics which can complement and enhance diagnostic information while also providing functional data. These metrics, such as time-to-peak, wash-in-slope, peak intensity and wash-out-slope, have the benefit of assessing more than just “where” there is blood flow, but also “how much” and “how quickly.” These quantification methods, while still in their infancy, have the ability to transform US into an important modality for functional imaging.

Future applications of CEUS are extensive and include quantification of blood flow and perfusion to organs of interest, including kidneys, bowel and the brain. In this capacity, CEUS can provide functional data in addition to detailed diagnostic information. Contrast capabilities are available on most commercially available US systems with continued expansion of available technology to multiple transducers. In this environment, technologic advancements directly intersect with pediatric imaging and offer innovative benefits to this special patient population. Ultimately, these developments have spawned widespread interest in educational opportunities, thus, prompting the creation of the Center for Pediatric Contrast Ultrasound at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. This center was founded to educate sonographers and physicians in the benefits and applications of CEUS specifically in pediatric imaging in an effort to encourage and promote knowledge and encourage advancement of this imaging technology.
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CEUS offers many benefits to pediatric imagers, referring clinicians and families in the imaging evaluation of children. Continued advancements in the existing technology ensure that this modality will thrive in our healthcare environment by providing extensive diagnostic and potentially functional information that ultimately improves care for our young patients.

About the Authors: Dr. Ryne Didier is a board-certified pediatric radiologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Her clinical work focuses on fetal and neonatal imaging at the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy. Her research interests include the applications of novel technologies to improve diagnostic and functional imaging in infants and children. Dr. Anush Sridharan is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Radiology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His research focuses primarily on the development of applications for contrast-enhanced ultrasound in pediatrics. He is also involved in the development of novel image analysis techniques for diagnostic ultrasound and MR imaging.

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