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The pediatric benefits of contrast enhanced ultrasound

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | April 20, 2020
Pediatrics Ultrasound
From the April 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“When you inject the microbubbles, it enhances the lesion in different vascular phases,” said Darge. “With that enhancement, you can make a diagnosis whether it’s benign or malignant.”

Adoption of new applications
While these new applications hold promise for the smallest of patients, that only makes a difference if healthcare facilities begin utilizing them. A few factors have stood in the way of widespread adoption, but much has been done to address that.

“Lack of comfort and experience with the performance of the procedures remains a limitation, but this will slowly improve,” said Wilson. “Exposure, instruction and experience are all required for successful CEUS.”

ICUS offers training for an array of abdominal and cardiovascular CEUS applications all over the U.S., and hosts its annual Advances in Contrast Ultrasound International Conference and its European symposium on Ultrasound Contrast Imaging to highlight new research and emerging clinical techniques.

Within the Society of Pediatric Radiology (SPR), there is a task force for CEUS. In January 2017, that task force conducted a national survey revealing that over 80 percent of the respondents did not have the opportunity to learn how to perform CEUS.

That same year, CHOP established the Center of Pediatric Contrast Ultrasound (CPCU), of which Darge is the founder, to offer national and international workshops every month.

The workshop is a one-day intensive course that features live demonstrations on patients, in-vitro demonstrations of contrast and simulations on ultrasound systems. Since April 2017, CPCU has held over 25 workshops and trained more than 200 people.

CHOP started using contrast off-label in 2013 and until it received FDA approval at the end of 2016, only three centers in the country were doing clinical pediatric contrast ultrasound. Thanks to these workshops, 40 to 50 percent of pediatric centers in the U.S. are performing pediatric contrast ultrasound, according to Darge.

Many centers around the U.S. now offer both intravesical contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography and intravenous contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography. Another popular application is evaluating blunt abdominal trauma.

“Once you have that understanding, for many people the learning curve is very short because the baseline ultrasound exam is really common, and you are just adding contrast,” said Darge. “You only need to understand how it looks with contrast and which buttons to press to understand it.”

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