BACKGROUND: Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a new technique that makes it possible to measure portal venous flow when transabdominal ultrasound fails. As the technique has not been evaluated previously, we compared simultaneous measurements of portal venous flow using EUS Doppler with that of transit time ultrasound (TTU) in healthy pigs. The ability of EUS to detect changes in the portal venous flow after pharmacologic intervention was also investigated. METHODS: Six anaesthetized pigs were studied. Portal venous flow was measured simultaneously by EUS duplex scanning, using a Pentax FG-32UA echoendoscope connected to a Hitachi EUB 515-A ultrasound scanner, and by TTU with a Cardiomed CM 4000 flowmeter probe placed on the portal vein. Terlipressin, 1 mg, and placebo were administered in a blind, randomized, crossover design. Measurements were taken at base line and 30 min after each drug administration. RESULTS: Portal venous flow measured by EUS flowmetry and TTU flowmetry correlated significantly (R = 0.92, P < 0.001, n = 18). The limits of agreement in a Bland-Altman plot were from -0.262 l/min to +0.164 l/min. The change in portal venous flow after terlipressin measured by EUS and TTU correlated significantly (R = 0.88, P < 0.05, n = 6). All values used for analyses were the means of five repeated measurements. CONCLUSIONS: EUS measures portal venous flow with an acceptable correlation and agreement with TTU in anaesthetized pigs. The method is capable of monitoring the effects of pharmacologic intervention on the portal system.
Keywords: Animals; Blood Flow Velocity; Endosonography; Female; Lypressin; Male; Portal System; Portal Vein; Random Allocation; Swine; Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex