AIM: Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS) is an imaging method that can discriminate between hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and other liver lesions. The purpose of this study is to present our experience concerning the use of CEUS in the characterization of HCCs.
MATERIAL AND METHOD: We included in our study all the patients evaluated in our Department from September 2009 to October 2010, with focal liver lesions (FLLs) on abdominal ultrasound (US) that were diagnosed as HCCs after CEUS examination, also patients with chronic liver disease with focal liver lesions highly suspected to be HCCs but with an inconclusive pattern on CEUS. One hundred patients with 148 HCCs were included. The enhancement pattern of the nodules was evaluated according to the 2008 EFSUMB Guidelines. Nodules displaying arterial hyperenhancement with "washout" in the portal/venous phase on CEUS were considered diagnostic for HCC. Nodules considered indeterminate after CEUS were evaluated by contrast-enhanced CT or MRI for diagnosis.
RESULTS: Among the 100 patients included, 96 were patients with chronic liver disease and 4 were patients without known liver disease. 71 patients had a solitary nodule, 16 patients had two nodules and 13 patients had three or more nodules. 112 HCCs had a typical enhancement pattern and 36 nodules were considered indeterminate after CEUS and were sent to CT/ MRI for diagnosis.
CONCLUSIONS: 75.7% of the studied liver nodules were diagnosed by CEUS as HCCs, thus CEUS is an easy method, convenient to perform, avoiding other expensive examinations.