Ultrasound has been established as an important diagnostic tool in assessing vascular abnormalities. Standard B-mode and Doppler techniques have inherent limitations with regards to detection of slow flow and small vasculature. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is a complementary tool and is useful in assessing both the macro-and microvascular anatomy of the aorta. CEUS can also provide valuable physiological information in real-time scanning sessions due to the physical and safety profiles of the administered microbubbles. From a macrovascular perspective, CEUS has been used to characterize aortic aneurysm rupture, dissection and endoleaks post-EVAR repair. With regard to microvasculature CEUS enables imaging of adventitial vasa vasorum thereby assessing aortic inflammation processes, such as monitoring treatment response in chronic periaortitis. CEUS may have additional clinical utility since adventitial vasa vasorum has important implications in the pathogenesis of aortic diseases. In recent years, there have been an increasing number of studies comparing CEUS to cross-sectional imaging for aortic applications. For endoleak surveillance CEUS has been shown to be equal or in certain cases superior in comparison to CT angiography. The recent advancement of CEUS software along with the ongoing development of drug-eluting contrast microbubbles has allowed improved targeted detection and real-time ultrasound guided therapy for aortic vasa vasorum inflammation and neovascularization in animal models. Therefore, CEUS is uniquely suited to comprehensively assess and potentially treat aortic vascular diseases in the future.
- Targeted ultrasound contrast agent
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine