Purpose. To report the results of a prospective study investigating the potentials of contrast-enhanced power Doppler in the diagnosis of expansive renal lesions. Material and methods. From 1997 to October 30, 1999, we studied 59 expansive renal lesions (28 malignant, 31 benign) in 48 patients (mean age 55 years, range 10-79) with power Doppler US before and after the administration of an echo-enhancing agent (Levovist®, Schering AG, Berlin, Germany). We identified 5 patterns of vascular architecture of the lesions, both before and after contrast agent administration, following the classification by Jinzaki e Coll. Results and discussion. Power Doppler US showed vascular structures in 34 patients. The administration of Levovist® revealed vessels in 12/25 lesions which had none at baseline studies and in 6 cases vascularity was particularly evident. Color signals were enhanced in all the 34 vascularized lesions, which allowed better definition of vascular patterns. The characterization of vascular patterns with baseline power Doppler US helped improve diagnostic accuracy compared to gray-scale US (58% versus 32%) for hyperechoic lesions, complex cysts and pseudomasses. Independent of contrast agent administration, the integration of gray-scale and power Doppler modes increased diagnostic accuracy even further (76% correct diagnoses). Conclusions. In our series, the US contrast agent did not increase the diagnostic accuracy of power Doppler in the differential diagnosis of hyperechoic renal lesions; conversely, Levovist® can be advantageous for the characterization of suspected pseudomasses and complex cysts.
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