OAK BROOK, Ill. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound is an effective, noninvasive method for monitoring patients who undergo endovascular repair for abdominal aortic aneurysms, according to a new study published in the journal Radiology.
"Our findings support the addition of contrast-enhanced ultrasound as a complementary tool in the follow-up of these patients," said Rosa Gilabert, M.D., Ph.D., from the Hospital Clinic at the University of Barcelona in Spain.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs becomes abnormally large or balloons outward. Abdominal aortic aneurysms can occur in anyone, but are most commonly found in men over the age of 60 with one or more risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, a positive family history, high cholesterol, peripheral vascular disease or obesity. The aneurysm places stress on the wall of the aorta that can lead to wall rupture. Mortality rates after rupture are high.
Endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms (EVAR) involves placement of a stent graft called an endograft into the vessel to bypass the area of the aorta weakened by the aneurysm and keep it from rupturing. EVAR has substantially reduced mortality around the time of surgery when compared with open repair. However, EVAR effectiveness can be compromised by a complication, known as an endoleak, which carries the subsequent risk of rupture of the aneurysm sac.
Routine surveillance of endovascular stent placement with computed tomography (CT) angiography enables detection of potential complications in patients with endografts, but it also exposes the patient to ionizing radiation and potential kidney damage from the CT contrast agent.
Dr. Gilabert and colleagues studied ultrasound with a second-generation contrast agent and contrast-specific software as an alternative to CT angiography. The newer contrast agent consists of a su
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Radiological Society of North America