Transjugular intravascular ultrasound for the evaluation of hepatic vasculature and parenchyma in patients with chronic liver disease
1 Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland
2 Interventional Cardiology, University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland
3 Hepatology Research Group, Department of Clinical Research, University of Berne, Murtenstrasse 35, 3010 Berne, Switzerland
4 University Clinic of Visceral Surgery and Medicine, Inselspital, 3010 Berne, Switzerland
BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:77 doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-77Published: 27 January 2012
The evaluation of the hepatic parenchyma in patients with chronic liver disease is important to assess the extension, localization and relationship with adjacent anatomical structures of possible lesions. This is usually performed with conventional abdominal ultrasound, CT-scan or magnetic resonance imaging. In this context, the feasibility and the safety of intravascular ultrasound in the liver have not been assessed yet.
We tested the safety and performance of an intracardiac echography (ICE) catheter applied by a transjugular approach into the hepatic veins in patients with chronic liver disease undergoing hepatic hemodynamic measurements.
Five patients were enrolled in this pilot study. The insertion of the ICE catheter was possible into the right and middle, but not into the left hepatic vein. The position of the ICE was followed using fluoroscopy and external conventional ultrasound. Accurate imaging of focal hepatic parenchymal lesions, Doppler ultrasound of surrounding blood vessels and assessment of liver surface and ascites were achieved without complications.
This study demonstrated that a diagnostic approach using an ICE device inserted in the hepatic veins is feasible, safe and well tolerated. However, it remains for the moment only an experimental investigative tool. Whether ICE adds further information regarding parenchymal lesions and associated vascular alterations as compared to other techniques, needs additional investigation.