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This is the authors' final version of the article from the Journal of Ultrasound Medicine, 2020 May;39(5):977-985.

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OBJECTIVES: This pilot study evaluated whether contrast-enhanced subharmonic imaging (SHI) could be used to characterize adnexal masses before surgical intervention.

METHODS: Ten women (with 12 lesions) scheduled for surgery of an ovarian mass underwent an SHI examination of their adnexal region using a modified LOGIQ E9 scanner (GE Healthcare, Waukesha, WI) with an endocavitary transducer, in which digital clips were acquired by pulse destruction-replenishment SHI across the lesions. Time-intensity curves were created offline to quantitatively evaluate SHI parameters (fractional tumor perfusion, peak contrast intensity, time to peak contrast enhancement, and area under the time-intensity curve), which were compared to pathologic characterizations of the lesions.

RESULTS: Of the 12 masses, 8 were benign, and 4 were malignant. A qualitative analysis of the SHI images by an experienced radiologist resulted in diagnostic accuracy of 70%, compared to 56% without contrast, whereas an inexperienced radiologist improved from 50% to 58% accuracy, demonstrating the benefit of SHI. A quantitative analysis of SHI parameters produced diagnostic accuracy as high as 81%. Peak contrast intensity was significantly greater in malignant than benign masses (mean ± SD, 0.109 ± 0.088 versus 0.046 ± 0.030 arbitrary units; P = .046). Malignant masses also showed significantly greater perfusion than benign masses (24.79% ± 25.34% versus 7.62% ± 6.50%; P = .045). When the radiologist reads were combined with the most predictive quantitative SHI parameter (percent perfusion), diagnostic accuracy improved to 84% for the experienced radiologist and 96% for the novice radiologist.

CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that SHI for presurgical characterization of adnexal masses may improve the determination of malignancy and diagnostic accuracy, albeit based on a small sample size.

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