Starting a pediatric contrast ultrasound service: made simple!

Kassa Darge, Susan J. Back, Richard A. Barth, Ann M. Johnson, Jeannie K. Kwon, M. Beth McCarville, Trudy A. Morgan, Aikaterini Ntoulia, Laura Poznick, Sphoorti Shellikeri, Abhay S. Srinivasan, Anne Marie Cahill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The addition of contrast US to an existing pediatric US service requires several preparatory steps. This overview provides a guide to simplify the process. Initially, it is important to communicate to all stakeholders the justifications for pediatric contrast US, including (1) its comparable or better diagnostic results relative to other modalities; (2) its reduction in procedural sedation or anesthesia by avoiding MRI or CT; (3) its reduction or elimination of radiation exposure by not having to perform fluoroscopy or CT; (4) the higher safety profile of US contrast agents (UCA) compared to other contrast agents; (5) the improved exam comfort and ease inherent to US, leading to better patient and family experience, including bedside US exams for children who cannot be transported; (6) the need for another diagnostic option in light of increasing demand by parents and providers; and (7) its status as an approved and reimbursable exam. It is necessary to have an UCA incorporated into the pharmacy formulary noting that only SonoVue/Lumason is currently approved for pediatric use. In the United States this UCA is approved for intravenous administration for cardiac and liver imaging and for vesicoureteric reflux detection with intravesical application. In Europe and China it is only approved for the intravesical use in children. All other applications are off-label. The US scanner needs to be equipped with contrast-specific software. The UCA has to be prepared just before the exam and it is important to strictly follow the steps as outlined in the packaging inserts in order to prevent premature destruction of the microbubbles. The initial training in contrast US is best focused on the frontline staff actually performing the US studies; these might be sonographers, pediatric or interventional radiologists, or trainees. It is important from the outset to educate the referring physicians about contrast US. It is helpful to participate in existing contrast US courses, particularly those with hands-on components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2139-2146
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Children
  • Contrast agents
  • Contrast-enhanced ultrasound
  • Contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography
  • Ultrasound
  • Ultrasound contrast agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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