Contrast-enhanced ultrasound assessment of arterial vascularization of small nodules arising in the cirrhotic liver

M. Pompili, L. Riccardi, S. Semeraro, R. Orefice, F. Elia, B. Barbaro, M. Covino, A. Grieco, G. Gasbarrini, G. L. Rapaccini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aim: Aim of this study was to compare contrast-enhanced ultrasound and multi-detector row computed tomography in detecting arterial hypervascularity in small cirrhotic nodules. Patients and methods: Sixty-two nodules (41 measuring 1.0-2.0 cm, 21 measuring 2.1-3.0 cm) found in 55 cirrhotic patients were examined with both methods. Lesions displaying arterial hypervascularity with washout in the portal/venous phase on both studies were considered hepatocellular carcinomas and treated; all other nodules were subjected to ultrasound-guided fine-needle biopsy. Results: The larger nodules (2.1-3.0 cm) included 19 hepatocellular carcinomas (90%), 1 macroregenerative nodule type I and 1 macroregenerative nodule type II; 35 (87%) of the smaller nodules were hepatocellular carcinomas, 2 were macroregenerative nodules type I, 2 macroregenerative nodules type II and 2 hemangiomas. The two studies yielded concordant findings for 54 nodules (87%), including 46 hypervascular on both examinations and 8 that were consistently hypovascular. Two of the latter nodules were hepatocellular carcinomas. The other eight nodules displayed arterial hypervascularity on only one of the studies. Six of these (75%) were hepatocellular carcinomas, including five that were negative in the contrast-enhanced ultrasound study. Conclusion: Computed tomography and contrast-enhanced ultrasound show high agreement in the vascular classification of small nodules detected by ultrasound in cirrhotic livers, although the former technique was slightly more sensitive in the detection of arterial hypervascularization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-215
Number of pages10
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • Arterial vascularization
  • Computed tomography
  • Contrast-enhanced ultrasound
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver cirrhosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Contrast-enhanced ultrasound assessment of arterial vascularization of small nodules arising in the cirrhotic liver'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this