What is the role of ultrasonography and CT scanning in the evaluation of amebiasis?

Updated: Jul 19, 2019
  • Author: Vinod K Dhawan, MD, FACP, FRCPC, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Both ultrasonography and CT scanning are sensitive but nonspecific for amebic liver abscess. Ultrasonography is preferred for the evaluation of amebic liver abscess because of its low cost, rapidity, and lack of adverse effects. CT may be slightly more sensitive than ultrasonography. In cerebral amebiasis, CT shows irregular lesions without a surrounding capsule or enhancement.

On ultrasonograms, amebic liver abscesses usually appear as a solitary homogenous hypoechoic round lesion in the posterosuperior aspect of the right lobe of the liver (70-80% of cases), though multiple abscesses may occur in some patients. In an ultrasonographic evaluation of 212 patients, 34 (16%) had multiple abscesses, 75 (35%) had an abscess in the left lobe, and the remaining 103 (49%) had a solitary abscess in the right lobe.

On CT scans with intravenous (IV) contrast, amebic liver abscess can appear as a rounded, low-attenuation lesion with an enhancing rim. Furthermore, the abscess may be homogenous or septated, with or without observable fluid levels.

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