Contrast ultrasound: General principles and veterinary clinical applications

Stefanie Ohlerth, Robert T. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The concept of contrast enhancement has significantly extended the usefulness of ultrasound imaging in human medicine and medical research over the past decade. The persistence and efficacy of ultrasound contrast agents has been improved and specific imaging sequences have been developed. Contrast ultrasound provides Doppler and grey-scale enhancement. Doppler examinations are improved when studying deep or small vessels and vessels with low flow velocities. Specific contrast imaging sequences allow detection of tissue enhancement with grey-scale ultrasound which enables assessment of tissue perfusion. Major clinical applications of contrast ultrasound in the human medicine field are the heart, the parenchymal organs such as the liver, spleen and kidneys, and vascular applications. Many other interesting applications have been identified and beside their diagnostic value, intensive research is currently investigating the use of ultrasound contrast agents for therapeutic applications such as targeted delivery of drug- or gene-loaded microbubbles. In the last few years, contrast ultrasound has also been introduced in veterinary medicine. Its usefulness has been shown in diseases of the liver, spleen, kidney, pancreas, lymph nodes and superficial tumours. In the present article, an overview of the physical principles, imaging techniques and image analyses is presented. In addition, a literature review details the current use in veterinary medicine and areas of potential utilization are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-512
Number of pages12
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cat
  • Contrast agents
  • Dog
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Lymph node
  • Microbubbles
  • Pancreas
  • Physics
  • Spleen
  • Tumour
  • Ultrasound
  • Vascular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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