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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The usefulness of ultrasonic microprobe imaging for endoscopic variceal ligation.

OBJECTIVES: This study investigated whether ultrasonic microprobe (UMP) imaging was useful in judging the therapeutic effect of endoscopic variceal ( EVL) on varices as well as assessing varices and surrounding vessels before and after EVL. METHODS: UMP imaging was performed repeatedly safely and easily via the biopsy channel of an endoscope in 20 patients with esophageal varices. Using this modality in combination with our method of "intensive ligation," we treated esophageal varices successfully. RESULTS: Before EVL, UMP imaging displayed esophageal varices, periesophageal collaterals, and the azygous vein as echo-free lumens. In 15 of 20 patients, UMP imaging clearly detected the perforating vein, one of the optimal ligation sites for EVL, connecting the varix and collateral vein. Just after EVL, UMP imaging revealed a hyperechoic change ("snow ball" sign or "snow channel" sign), indicating blood flow stasis in the esophageal varices. On subsequent EVL, UMP imaging showed the cross-sectional area of varices was undetectable (occluded) or partially detectaable. After repeated EVL (2.9 treatment sessions on average), UMP imaging, as well as endoscopy, indicated that almost all varices were eradicated (undetectable). However, UMP imaging demonstrated that neither collaterals nor the azygous vein had significantly changed in size. CONCLUSIONS: This modern diagnostic modality provided a clinical adjunct to current endoscopy when observing esophageal varices and surrounding vessels before and after EVL to determine the need for additional therapy.[1]


  1. The usefulness of ultrasonic microprobe imaging for endoscopic variceal ligation. Nagamine, N., Ido, K., Ueno, N., Kimura, K., Kawamata, T., Kawada, H., Hirasawa, T., Suzuki, T., Kubo, H., Tokumaru, K., Seki, M. Am. J. Gastroenterol. (1996) [Pubmed]
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