Standards of the Polish Ultrasound Society. Ultrasound examination of the portal system and hepatic vessels

Robert Lechowicz1, Michał Elwertowski2

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2015; 15: 208–226
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2015.0018
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Increased incidence of liver diseases, the development of liver surgery and other invasive methods for managing portal hypertension, plus an increasing number of liver transplant procedures pose more and more new challenges for ultrasonography. Ultrasonography, being an effective and clinically verified modality, has been used for several decades for diagnosing diseases of the liver, its vessels and portal hypertension. It is used for both initial and specialist diagnosis (performed in reference centers). The diagnostic value of ultrasonography largely depends on the knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology and clinical aspects as well as on the mastering of the scanning technique. In the hands of an experienced physician, it is an accurate and highly effective diagnostic tool; it is of little use otherwise. The paper presents elements of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology which make the portal system exceptional and the knowledge of which is crucial and indispensable for a correct examination and, above all, for the correct interpretation of results. The authors also present requirements regarding the equipment. Moreover, various technical aspects of the examination are presented and the normal morphological picture and hemodynamic parameters of healthy individuals are described. The authors discuss the most common clinical situations and rare cases during ultrasound examinations. The paper is based on the experience of the author who works in the largest center of liver diseases in Poland, and on the current literature.

portal vein, hepatic veins, portal hypertension, Doppler ultrasound, liver transplantation