ABSTRACT

We evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of the contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS), using a second-generation microbubble contrast agent, in differentiating the different types of adrenal mass lesions in 24 dogs. At B-mode ultrasound, 9 lesions involved the right adrenal gland, 14 the left, and 1 was bilateral. Each dog received a bolus of the contrast agent into the cephalic vein, immediately followed by a 5-mL saline flush. The first contrast enhancement of each adrenal lesion was evaluated qualitatively to assess the degree of enhancement and its distribution during the wash-in and wash-out phases, as well as the presence of non-vascularized areas and specific vascular patterns. Pathological diagnoses were determined in all dogs by histopathology or by cytology. Combining enhancement degree and vascularity resulted in the best predictive model, allowing CEUS to differentiate adrenocortical adenoma (n=10), adenocarcinoma (n=7), and pheochromocytoma (n=7) with an accuracy of 91.7% (P < 0.001). Combining enhancement degree and vascularity, CEUS can discriminate malignant versus benign adrenal lesions with a sensitivity of 100.0%, a specificity of 80.0%, and an accuracy of 91.7% (P < 0.001). In conclusion, results of this study confirm that CEUS is useful for differentiating between the different types of adrenal tumors in dogs.

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