Center for Pediatric Contrast Ultrasound

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) is an imaging tool that uses two things: ultrasound and contrast agent. Using contrast in ultrasound is a recent advance in the imaging of children. CEUS is free from radiation and doesn’t require sedation. In addition, the microbubbles in the contrast agent help providers see more clearly during an ultrasound exam.

The Center for Pediatric Contrast Ultrasound is the only facility in the U.S. to provide hands-on training in the use of CEUS in children. We are dedicated to establishing this safe, effective imaging approach in pediatric hospitals and imaging centers throughout the United States and the world.

Benefits of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) include:

  • Accurate, detailed diagnosis: The microbubbles in CEUS help detect vesicoureteral reflux similar to voiding cystourethrography (VCUG).
  • Real-time evaluation of blood flow: Thorough visualization of the enhancement pattern within a lesion helps to diagnose the lesion.
  • Quick and reliable scan: The ability to identify benign lesions and pseudo-lesions reduces time to diagnosis, anxiety and further procedures.
  • Safe and radiation-free examination: There is no risk of kidney or liver damage so the test can be repeated as needed.
  • Comfortable and simple procedure: There is less need for sedation and general anesthesia, and the test can be performed at the bedside.
  • Cost-efficient: CEUS works like computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and is a less expensive exam.

Read more about CEUS

Advancing safe and effective imaging for children

CHOP’s Department of Radiology has been a longtime leader in the movement toward safer scanning for children. Our team of pediatric radiologists helped establish guidelines used around the country for safe imaging practices. Through the Center for Pediatric Contrast Ultrasound (CPCU), we continue our efforts to advance the use of imaging technologies in children to improve diagnosis and disease management in a more accessible and patient-friendly manner.

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound was first introduced at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2013, beginning with a comparative study of contrast-enhanced voiding urosonography (ceVUS) with fluoroscopic voiding cystourethrography (VCUG) for the diagnosis of vesicoureteric reflux.

In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of an ultrasound contrast agent in children to help evaluate the liver and urinary system. After the FDA approval, the Department of Radiology began to expand the use of CEUS in the evaluation of many different organs, interventional radiology procedures, and more. Departmental research in the field of CEUS is also expanding. This not only includes prospective clinical studies in children under FDA approval, but also evaluation of novel applications in the lab for potential use in children in the future.

CHOP’s Center for Pediatric Contrast Ultrasound was developed in 2017. We officially launched in 2018 as a dedicated entity for the advancement of pediatric CEUS.

The following are our objectives:

  1. Clinical Service: Since CEUS is new to many clinicians, there is a need to educate referring physicians of various subspecialties about this imaging technique. We coordinate and conduct CEUS educational sessions, as well as explore potential new applications with referring physicians.
  2. Education: CEUS is a very hands-on imaging modality. The availability of a dedicated pediatric center for learning CEUS is a major factor in facilitating the exposure of sonographers, pediatric radiologists, and other pediatric subspecialties to this modality. We are an educational center of excellence for pediatric CEUS, both nationally and internationally, providing training opportunities for both internal and external candidates.
  3. Research: CEUS research targeting pediatric indications is an important measure for advancing the field of pediatric CEUS. We support clinical and basic science research around CEUS.

With continued research and education, we believe the clinical use of CEUS will be expanded to aid in the diagnosis and evaluation of other conditions and for therapeutic applications.

Training and education

The Center for Pediatric Contrast Ultrasound at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is the only facility in the U.S. to provide hands-on training in the best techniques of contrast-enhanced ultrasound in children. We offer small group, one-day, hands-on and virtual contrast ultrasound (US) courses for pediatric radiologists, pediatric sonographers, pediatric subspecialists and pediatric ultrasound application specialists.

These programs are designed to teach the basic principles of pediatric CEUS applications, including how to perform the studies and interpret the results. We cover intravenous and intracavitary, including intravesical, CEUS applications in children.

Our goal is to help establish this safe, effective imaging approach in pediatric hospitals and imaging centers throughout the United States and the world.

For more information about courses please contact: