Document Type


Publication Date



This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2018, Pages 123-129.

The published version is available at Copyright © American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine


OBJECTIVES: To use subharmonic imaging (SHI) to depict the vascularity of pancreatic masses compared to contrast-enhanced endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and pathologic results.

METHODS: Sixteen patients scheduled for biopsy of a pancreatic mass were enrolled in an Institutional Review Board-approved study. Pulse-inversion SHI (transmitting/receiving at 2.5/1.25 MHz) was performed on a LOGIQ 9 system (GE Healthcare, Milwaukee, WI) with a 4C transducer, whereas contrast harmonic EUS (transmitting/receiving at 4.7/9.4 MHz) was performed with a radial endoscope (GF-UTC180; Olympus Corporation, Tokyo, Japan) connected to a ProSound SSD α-10 scanner (Hitachi Aloka, Tokyo, Japan). Two injections of the contrast agent Definity (Lantheus Medical Imaging, North Billerica, MA) were administrated (0.3-0.4 and 0.6-0.8 mL for EUS and SHI, respectively). Contrast-to-tissue ratios (CTRs) in the mass and an adjacent vessel were calculated. Four physicians independently scored the images (benign to malignant) for diagnostic accuracy and inter-reader agreement.

RESULTS: One patient dropped out before imaging, leaving 11 adenocarcinomas, 1 gastrointestinal stromal tumor with pancreatic infiltration, and 3 benign masses. Marked subharmonic signals were obtained in all patients, with intratumoral blood flow clearly visualized with SHI. Significantly greater CTRs were obtained in the masses with SHI than with EUS (mean ± SD, 1.71 ± 1.63 versus 0.63 ± 0.89; P = .016). There were no differences in the CTR in the surrounding vessels or when grouped by pathologic results (P > .60). The accuracies for contrast EUS and SHI were low (<53%), albeit with a greater κ value for SHI (0.34) than for EUS (0.13).

CONCLUSIONS: Diagnostic accuracy of contrast EUS and transabdominal SHI for assessment of pancreatic masses was quite low in this pilot study. However, SHI had improved tumoral CTRs relative to contrast EUS.

PubMed ID