The value of Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound in the evaluation of the nature of portal vein thrombosis

Mirela Danila, Ioan Sporea, Alina Popescu, Roxana Sirli, Madalina Sendroiu


Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is a relatively common complication in patients with liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, but might also occur in the absence of liver disease. Ultrasound (US) is the first imaging method used for assessing PVT. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the utility of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) for the differentiation between benign and malignant PVT. Materials and methods: from October 2009 to October 2010, 38 PVTs were evaluated by means of ultrasound (standard, Doppler and CEUS). 29 PVT were in patients with liver cirrhosis and 9 in subjects without liver cirrhosis. Results: 15 of 38 patients (39.5%) had benign PVT and 23 patients (60.5%) had malignant PVT. Results of CEUS examination were conclusive in 37/38 (97.2%) of the examinations for PVT, allowing the differentiation between benign and malignant thrombosis. When the result was inconclusive, another imaging method was performed (MRI). Conclusion CEUS is a very good method for the evaluation of benign or malignant nature of portal vein thrombosis.


benign; malign; portal vein thrombosis; contrast enhanced ultrasound

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