Contrast-enhanced ultrasonography for evaluation of the blood perfusion of sciatic nerves in healthy dogs

Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2022 Oct 20. doi: 10.1111/vru.13180. Online ahead of print.


Blood supply to the peripheral nerves is essential for fulfilling their structural and functional requirements. This prospective, experimental, exploratory study aimed to assess the feasibility of contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS) for evaluating blood perfusion of the sciatic nerve in normal dogs. Contrast-enhanced ultrasonography examinations were performed on the bilateral sciatic nerves after bolus injection of Sonazoid™ (0.015 mL/kg) in 12 healthy Beagles for 150 s. Then, qualitative assessment of the wash-in timing, degree and enhancement patterns, and quantitative measurement of the peak intensity and time to peak intensity were performed from the sciatic nerve. The results were compared to those obtained from the adductor muscle around the nerve and caudal gluteal artery. After contrast agent injection, the sciatic nerve was enhanced at approximately 13-14 s, immediately after wash-in of the caudal gluteal artery. The peak intensity of the sciatic nerve was significantly lower than that of the caudal gluteal artery and higher than that of the adductor muscle. The time to peak intensity was significantly slower than that of the caudal gluteal artery; but was not significantly different from that of the adductor muscle. There were no significant differences in the peak intensity and time to peak intensity between the left and right sciatic nerves. These results demonstrate the feasibility of CEUS to assess blood perfusion of the sciatic nerve in healthy dogs qualitatively and quantitatively. This result from healthy dogs could serve as a reference for further studies that evaluate the sciatic nerve under pathological conditions.

Keywords: CEUS; canine; perfluorobutane; peripheral nerve.