Splenic trauma: Evaluation with contrast-specific sonography and a second-generation contrast medium: Preliminary experience

Orlando Catalano, Roberto Lobianco, Fabio Sandomenico, Alfredo Siani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. To report our experience in the assessment of splenic trauma with contrast-coded sonography and a second-generation contrast medium. Methods. From January to May 2002, 120 patients were studied with sonography for suspected splenic trauma. Twenty-five were selected for further imaging because of sonographic findings positive for splenic injury, findings positive for peritoneal fluid only, indeterminate findings, and negative findings with high clinical or laboratory suspicion. These patients underwent contrast-enhanced harmonic sonography and contrast-enhanced helical computed tomography. Results. Among the 25 patients studied, 6 had no spleen trauma at initial and follow-up evaluation. One patient had a hypoperfused spleen without parenchymal damage, and 18 had splenic injuries; these 19 patients were considered positive. Hemoperitoneum was identified by sonography, contrast-enhanced sonography, and contrast-enhanced computed tomography in 74% of the 19 positive cases. Perisplenic clots were recognized in 58% of the cases by computed tomography and in 42% by baseline and enhanced sonography. Splenic infarctions were found in 11% of cases by contrast-enhanced sonography and computed tomography; none was found by unenhanced sonography. Parenchymal traumatic lesions were identified in 12 of 18 patients with splenic injuries by unenhanced sonography, in 17 cases by contrast-enhanced sonography, and in all 18 cases by contrast-enhanced computed tomography. A minimal splenic lesion was found in the single patient with a false-negative contrast-enhanced sonographic finding. Contrast-enhanced sonography correlated appreciably better than unenhanced sonography in detecting injuries and in estimating their extent. Findings undetectable on unenhanced sonography were also noted: splenic hypoperfusion in 11% of positive cases on both contrast-enhanced sonography and contrast-enhanced computed tomography, contrast medium pooling in 21% of cases on both contrast-enhanced sonography and computed tomography, and contrast extravasation in 11% of cases on computed tomography and 5% on contrast-enhanced sonography. Conclusions. Contrast-enhanced sonography is a promising tool in the assessment of splenic trauma. In institutions where sonography is used as the initial procedure, this technique may increase its effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-477
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2003


  • Computed tomography
  • Sonography, contrast media
  • Sonography, harmonic imaging
  • Sonography, technology
  • Spleen, trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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