Diagnostic utility of an echo-contrast agent in patients with synovitis using power Doppler ultrasound: a preliminary study with comparison to contrast-enhanced MRI

Eur Radiol. 2001;11(6):1039-46. doi: 10.1007/s003300000650.


The purpose of this study was to first evaluate Levovist (Schering, Berlin, Germany), an echo-contrast agent, during power Doppler sonography (PDS) in patients with synovitis using asymptomatic joints as controls. Then we evaluated the accuracy of this technique against contrast-enhanced MRI. Forty patients (19 men and 21 women; mean age 40 years) were enrolled on the basis of clinical signs, laboratory tests, and radiographic findings positive for articular inflammatory disease. They were examined with conventional ultrasonography (US) and PDS techniques before and after intravenous contrast medium injection. Fourteen patients then underwent MRI with and without contrast medium 8-14 days after PDS studies. Three expert readers independently evaluated each examination. After contrast medium, synovium in inflammatory arthritis enhanced on PDS compared with normal joints in the same patient. Power Doppler sonography after contrast medium and MRI were concordant in all cases. Power Doppler sonography with contrast medium showed a qualitative increase in signal from synovial vessels, the first sign of synovial changes in inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Contrast Media*
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysaccharides*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Synovitis / diagnosis*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler*


  • Contrast Media
  • Polysaccharides
  • SHU 508
  • Gadolinium DTPA