- Category: About CEUS
CEUS is often cheaper, safer, better, faster and more convenient than other forms of diagnostic imaging, and is performed without ionizing radiation. At a time of heightened concerns regarding overall health care costs and the cumulative impact of ionizing radiation due to medical diagnostic testing, CEUS is often an equivalent or superior means of diagnosing heart disease, pinpointing tumors, and evaluating other medical abnormalities throughout the body. Heres why:
Ultrasound contrast agents produce high-quality, reliable diagnostic images -- in fact, a CEUS stress echocardiogram is considered equivalent to a SPECT study for evaluation of coronary artery disease1.
Ultrasound contrast agents also are exceedingly safe. There is no statistically significant difference between the mortality rates of patients who receive ultrasound contrast and those who do not2. Moreover, unlike CT, PET, nuclear (SPECT) imaging, X-ray and angiography, CEUS does not expose patients to ionizing radiation, which can increase a patient’s lifetime risk of cancer. And ultrasound contrast agents do not contain dye, which can cause allergic reactions.
CEUS also may reduce costs of diagnostic imaging. Since an ultrasound contrast agent often salvages suboptimal studies by “significantly” improving interpretability3, CEUS reduces the need for redundant, more expensive, and sometimes riskier downstream diagnostic testing. And ultrasound equipment is significantly cheaper than other forms of diagnostic imaging equipment (including equipment used in MRI, CT and angiography) -- and does not require the construction of expensive dedicated imaging suites. Moreover, ultrasound equipment is portable and widely available, and may be brought to the bedside of a patient who cannot get to a CT or MRI scanner.
And CEUS provides immediate information in varied settings. As recognized by the new European CEUS “Guidelines and Recommendations”4:
CEUS has a number of distinct advantages over CT and MRI. It can be performed immediately, without any preliminary laboratory testing, and it can be carried out in a variety of scenarios (bedside, operating room, CT suite, etc.). Importantly also, it opertes in real time so that rapid changes can be captured.
Considered a “revolutionary technique” with “exponentially increasing interest,” CEUS may be used safely in nearly all organ systems, according to the introduction to the Guidelines.
In sum, CEUS advantages include the following:
- Accurate and reliable diagnoses
- Strong safety profile
- No ionizing radiation (as in SPECT, CT, PET, angiography and X-ray)
- No iodinated dye (as in CT or X-ray contrast agents)
- No invasive catheterization
- No risk of nephrotoxicity
- No anesthesia or sedation (as may be required with CT, MRI or angiography)
- Fewer redundant, unnecessary downstream tests
- Lowers overall costs
- Cheaper equipment -- no “big box” imaging machines or dedicated suites
- Convenient and easy to use
- Portable - may be used at patient’s bedside
- May be used to image growing number of severely obese patients
- Potential for screening, prevention, and ongoing monitoring of care
- Widespread international acceptance
Are there risks associated with CEUS?
Yes, and product labeling should be examined and followed. However, studies indicate that risks associated with CEUS use are quite low when compared to risks associated with other widely accepted imaging tools. For example, recent scientific reports show no increased mortality or safety signal even among the sickest patients.
Information on product labels and safety studies may be found elsewhere on this website.