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    ABSTRACT: Knowledge and quantification of the microcirculation are very important for estimating the status of an organ. Real-time contrast-enhanced sonography assesses microvascular tissue perfusion. This technique has been proposed as innocuous; however, data from experimental animals (rats) have shown renal interstitial microhemorrhage after the procedure. Therefore, we developed a porcine model to explore potential renal damage that in situ exposure might cause. Kidneys from 8 anesthetized pigs were surgically exposed. An ultrasound contrast agent (sulfur hexafluoride) was infused through the femoral vein in a continuous perfusion. Destructive ultrasonic flashes were applied with a high mechanical index over only 1 kidney (the contralateral kidney was used as a control). Blinded histologic and laboratory analyses were performed to reveal any lesions. Histologic analysis of the kidney samples showed no evidence of renal damage. Biochemical parameters that could represent renal tissue damage and hemoglobin levels did not change after the microbubble-ultrasound interaction. The ultrasound contrast agent-ultrasound interaction in anesthetized pig kidneys under the output level for the imaging visualization and microbubble destruction used did not cause tissue damage. Our results suggest that this procedure could be used in humans for regular analysis of the kidney microcirculation with minimal risk of tissue damage.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2008 · Journal of ultrasound in medicine: official journal of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine