Contrast-enhanced ultrasonography in the initial evaluation of the kidney graft function: a pilot study.

Florin Ioan Elec, Alina Daciana Elec, Sorana Bolboaca, Mihai Adrian Socaciu, Adriana Milena Muntean, Gheorghiță Iacob, Tudor Moisoiu, Răzvan Zaro, Alexandra-Ioana Andries, Maria Ramona Badulescu, Radu Mihai Ignat, Radu Ion Badea


Aim: Our study aimed to assess the usefulness of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) in the initial evaluation of the graft function.

Materials and method: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the early postoperative period on patients with kidney transplantation, between September 2017 to November 2018. Two groups of patients were investigated; delayed graft function (DGF) and early graft function (EGF). All patients were examined by grey scale, Doppler ultrasound and CEUS.

Results: Nineteen patients, aged from 23 to 64 years (mean age 50 years), 7 in the DGF group and 12 in the EGF group were evaluated. The resistive index (RI) show significantly higher values in the DGF group at the level of upper interlobar artery (p=0.025) and medium interlobar artery (p=0.02). The CEUS investigation shows a greater region of interest (ROI) area (p=0.02) and lower values for wash-out area under the curve (WoAUC) (p=0.047) and respectively wash-in and wash-out area under the curve (WiWoAUC) (p=0.031) for the DGF group. The quality of fit (QoF) proved lower in the DGF group either for evaluation of global graft (p=0.012), cortex (p=0.025), or medulla (p=0.009).A significant relationship among all patients was found between the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) [ml/min] and the renal artery fall time (FT) [s] (p=0.012), WoAUC [a.u.] (p=0.03), and WiWoAUC [a.u.] (p=0.024). The arterial QoF [%] was associated with the arterial ROI area (p=0.048).

Conclusions: Intensity CEUS parameters WoAUC and WiWoAUC may be useful to diagnose and follow-up grafts with delayed function. Additional studies on larger cohorts are required for the recommendation of CEUS as a routine evaluation of the transplanted kidney.


kidney transplantation; graft function; ultrasonography; Doppler ultrasound; Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasonography (CEUS)

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