A review of nonconventional ultrasound techniques and contrast-enhanced ultrasonography of noncardiac canine disorders

Viktor Szatmári, Zoltán Harkányi, Károly Vörös

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

15 Citations (Scopus)


Modern ultrasound contrast media are gas-containing stabilized microbubbles that remain intact in the circulating blood for several minutes after intravenous injection and increase the intensity of the backscattered ultrasound. When the microbubbles disappear from the blood, they can be detected in the parenchyma of the liver and the spleen for about 30 more minutes (late liver- and spleen-specific phase). The insonated microbubbles produce second harmonic ultrasound frequencies, whose detection requires nonconventional ultrasound modalities such as pulsed inversion imaging. Nonconventional ultrasound techniques can also be used without microbubbles because second harmonics can be generated by ultrasound in tissues as well. The physical principles and advantages of nonconventional ultrasound techniques are described. The circulating microbubbles can be used not only to enhance weak Doppler signals, but also to perform dynamic contrast studies. Contrast-enhanced dynamic ultrasound studies - similar to contrast-enhanced CT and MRI examinations-have been used in hu-mans to characterize lesions noninvasively (i.e., without biopsies) found during conventional ultrasound examinations. To map the distribution of contrast medium in a nodule or in an organ, specific scanning techniques such as stimulated acoustic emission have been developed. Stimulated acoustic emission occurs when high acoustic pressure ultrasonic waves disrupt the stationary or slowly moving microbubbles. This results in the release of a large amount of harmonic ultrasound frequencies. When the stimulated acoustic emission technique is used for dynamic studies, scanning must be interrupted several times to allow the microvasculature of the lesion to refill with microbubbles (interval delay imaging). The contrast patterns of malignant and benign hepatic nodules in humans have been the most intensively studied. Another type of dynamic study in humans measures the transit time of the contrast medium; that is, how fast the peripherally injected microbubbles reach the hepatic veins. Hepatic cirrhosis can be differentiated from other diffuse parenchymal liver diseases by a shorter transit time. Introducing nonconventional ultrasound techniques and ultrasound contrast media in veterinary diagnostic imaging may have potential value; however, intensive research should be carried out before ultrasound contrast agents can routinely be used in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-391
Number of pages12
JournalVeterinary Radiology and Ultrasound
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2003



  • Harmonic imaging
  • Liver
  • Microbubble
  • Pulse inversion
  • Transit time
  • Tumor
  • Ultrasonography
  • Ultrasound contrast medium
  • Vascular pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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