Added Benefit and Risk of an Additional Biopsy or Targeting With Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound for Patients With Renal Transplants

J Scott Kriegshauser, Nirvikar Dahiya, Maxwell L. Smith, Nan Zhang, Raymond Lackner Heilman, Melissa L. Stanton, Scott W. Young, Maitray D. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To determine whether renal transplant diagnoses substantially change when 2 biopsy sites are chosen and whether contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) has value for targeting the second site. Methods: We prospectively enrolled 40 patients undergoing ultrasound-guided renal transplant biopsy within 2 years of transplant: 20, surveillance; and 20, for cause. A CEUS examination was performed to identify cortical regions with subjectively altered flow. One biopsy was performed at the operator-preferred (primary) site regardless of CEUS findings. Another biopsy was done at a second location, either targeted to an area in which CEUS perfusion findings differed from the primary site (targeted) or at a random location (secondary) if no other area differed. Specimens were randomly labeled A or B; pathologists were blinded to the CEUS result and biopsy location. Location-specific CEUS assessments were recorded. Pathologic results were compared, including acute and chronic Banff scores and any new findings from the targeted or secondary biopsy. Results: Forty patients were enrolled between January 2016 and December 2018. No location-specific pathologic differences correlated with differences in CEUS assessments. The second biopsy provided additional information that changed management in 4 of 40 patients (10.0% [95% confidence interval, 2.8%–23.7%]). Major bleeding complications occurred in 3 of 40 (7.5%) patients. Conclusions: Contrast-enhanced ultrasound targeting was not useful. Major bleeding complications were higher than expected, possibly due to the additional biopsy away from the operator-preferred location. Obtaining a second renal transplant biopsy from a substantially different area than the initial operator-preferred location provided additional clinically useful information in 10% of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • contrast agents
  • image-guided biopsy
  • perioperative complications
  • transplants
  • ultrasound imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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