What is the role of ultrasonography in the workup of cystic fibrosis (CF)?

Updated: Oct 30, 2018
  • Author: Girish D Sharma, MD, FCCP, FAAP; Chief Editor: Kenan Haver, MD  more...
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Answer

Prenatal sonographic characteristics associated with meconium ileus include hyperechoic masses (ie, inspissated meconium in the terminal ileum), dilated bowel, and inability to visualize the gallbladder. Normal fetal meconium, when visualized in the second and third trimesters, is usually hypoechoic or isoechoic to adjacent abdominal structures. (Hyperechoic mass is defined as a mass with greater sonographic density than liver or bone.)

The sensitivity of intra-abdominal echogenic masses for CF detection reportedly ranges from 30%-70%. This finding as a sonographic marker of meconium ileus is plagued by difficulties, including subjective assessment of echogenicity and extensive differential diagnoses.


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