ICUS Backs Sonographers’ Expanded CEUS Role

The International Contrast Ultrasound Society (ICUS) has announced that the expanding role of sonographers will provide more patients with access to safe and affordable diagnostic scans known as “contrast-enhanced ultrasound” (CEUS).

ICUS, a worldwide medical society dedicated to promoting the safe and effective use of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) for enhanced patient care, recently announced its enthusiastic endorsement of the new Scope of Practice and Clinical Standards for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. These standards were released by the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (SDMS) last week, marking a significant update since the sonographer Scope of Practice revision in 2015. ICUS actively participated in this revision process, alongside other organizations.

Maria Stanczak, a member of the ICUS board of directors and an Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, highlighted the pivotal role of sonographers in conducting CEUS examinations. Stanczak emphasized the importance of continuous learning and adapting to new techniques like CEUS to provide innovative care and elevate the sonography profession.

The expanded Scope of Practice aims to remove unnecessary barriers to CEUS utilization by empowering trained sonographers to assess the need for a CEUS exam, perform tasks such as placing intravenous lines, and administer ultrasound contrast media. This enhancement not only enhances patient care but also streamlines institutional workflows.

CEUS involves injecting an ultrasound enhancing agent (UEA) intravenously to enhance ultrasound image clarity and functionality without dye, ionizing radiation exposure, or known risks of kidney damage or brain contrast media deposits.

Dr. Jordan Strom, a member of the ICUS board and Director of the Echocardiography Laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, emphasized CEUS’s value as a diagnostic tool. Multiple studies have shown that CEUS improves diagnosis accuracy, enables precise measurements, and potentially reduces repeat testing and diagnostic imaging costs.

Despite being underutilized relative to its potential, CEUS applications are expanding globally for both adult and pediatric imaging. CEUS is generally safer and more cost-effective than contrast-enhanced CT or MR imaging modalities.

Beverly Gorman, another ICUS board member and past Intersocietal Accreditation Commission Director of Accreditation for Echocardiography, hailed the new SDMS Scope of Practice as a significant advancement for professional sonographers and the patients they serve.

Ultrasound enhancing agents (UEAs) are available from reputable manufacturers such as Bracco, Lantheus, and GE Healthcare, providing reliable options for conducting CEUS examinations safely and effectively.

ICUS, as a nonprofit organization, offers valuable resources, including CME-accredited webinars, newsletters, and other CEUS programming, without charging membership fees.

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