Liver contrast enhanced ultrasound perfusion imaging in the evaluation of chronic hepatitis C fibrosis: preliminary results

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2011 Jan;37(1):1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2010.10.012.


We wanted to determine whether liver contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS)-derived peak signal intensity (PSI) and peak signal intensity/time (PIT) predict liver fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C (CHC). Forty-nine patients with CHC (METAVIR classification) and 10 control subjects were included in the study. After a bolus of 2.4 mL SonoVue (Bracco Imaging, Milan, Italy) solution was injected into a peripheral vein, the right lobe of the liver containing the right portal vein was scanned in a transverse section. Two-dimensional sonography was performed using the Philips iU22 ultrasound system (Philips Healthcare, Best, the Netherlands). A 1.0-5.0-MHz (C5-1) wideband convex transducer was used, applying the following settings in all cases. Regions of interest were manually drawn over the right liver lobe and over the portal vein (PV). Liver parenchyma PSI (LPpsi) and PIT (LPpit), portal vein PSI (PVpsi) and PIT (PVpit) were automatically calculated. δPSI was defined as the difference between PVpsi and LPpsi. A significant correlation was observed between PA(PSI) and fibrosis scores. When patients were stratified according to their LPpsi, a significant difference was achieved only between patients with fibrosis score 0-1 vs. 2-3 and 2 vs. 4. Statistically significant differences between all fibrosis scores, except 0 vs. 1 and 3 vs. 4 were observed when δPSI was used to stratify patients. Overall diagnostic accuracy of LPpsi and δPSI measurement for severe fibrosis by area under the receiving operator characteristic curve analysis was, respectively, 0.87 and 0.88. We suggest that liver CEUS perfusion could have the potential to be used as a complementary tool for the evaluation of liver fibrosis. However, further large-scale studies are required to accurately assess its accuracy in the evaluation of liver fibrosis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / virology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phospholipids
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride
  • Ultrasonography


  • Contrast Media
  • Phospholipids
  • contrast agent BR1
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride