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Diagnosis of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations by colour Doppler ultrasound and amplitude ultrasound angiography
  1. Hao-Chien Wang,
  2. Ping-Hung Kuo,
  3. Yuang-Shuang Liaw,
  4. Chong-Jen Yu,
  5. Sow-Hsong Kuo,
  6. Kwen-Tay Luh,
  7. Pan-Chyr Yang
  1. Departments of Internal Medicine and Laboratory Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
  1. Dr P-C Yang, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, No. 7 Chung-Shan South Road, Taipei, Taiwan.


BACKGROUND The clinical value of colour Doppler ultrasound and amplitude ultrasound angiography in the diagnosis and follow up of pulmonary arteriovenous malformations (PAVM) was investigated.

METHODS Six consecutive patients suspected by clinical appearance and abnormal chest radiographic findings of having PAVM were included in the study. Ultrasonography was performed first by real time grey scale imaging then by colour Doppler imaging and amplitude ultrasound angiography in a random order. All were later proved by angiography to have PAVM.

RESULTS The ultrasound study was successfully performed in all six patients. A total of eight lesions was detected. The real time grey scale image of PAVM revealed well defined hypoechoic subpleural nodules with strong posterior acoustic enhancement. Colour Doppler ultrasound of PAVM showed turbulent flow, manifest as an area of intense colour with high and mixed velocities (reticulated or mosaic-like pattern). Anatomical continuity was demonstrated in some PAVM. Amplitude ultrasound angiography can delineate a tangled vascular structure with a clear vessel wall and anatomical continuity as well as conventional angiography. Spectral wave analysis showed a relatively low impedance flow presenting with high peak systolic velocity (mean 44.4 cm/s) and relatively high diastolic velocity (mean 19.3 cm/s). The mean pulsatility index (PI) and resistive index (RI) were 1.80 and 0.49, respectively. In two patients who received embolotherapy the colour Doppler ultrasound scan obtained after the procedure showed that the previous focal areas of colour flow signals disappeared or diminished in size. This was compatible with the decrease in, or absence of, blood flow demonstrated by angiography after embolotherapy.

CONCLUSIONS Combined colour Doppler ultrasound and amplitude ultrasound angiography are useful non-invasive techniques for diagnosing PAVM and provide an alternative approach to angiography in evaluating the efficacy of embolotherapy.

  • arteriovenous malformations
  • colour Doppler ultrasound
  • amplitude ultrasound angiography
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