Kassa Darge, MD, PhD, radiologist-in-chief, and Susan Back, MD, attending pediatric radiologist, both at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), have received a $300,000 grant from Bracco Diagnostics Inc. USA. to fund research and educate physicians and technologists to use contrast ultrasound, a relatively new technology that was only approved by the U.S. FDA for use in pediatric patients in 2016. CHOP is among the first pediatric hospitals to use this technology in the U.S.

“The advancement of pediatric imaging through contrast ultrasound at CHOP currently has no match both nationally and internationally. Tiny gas filled ‘microbubbles’ that are administered into the body via different routes have transformed ultrasound,” says Darge. “We use contrast ultrasound for multiple indications, including for interventional procedures in children. The positive impact of contrast ultrasound is very visible, and it is a great contributor to patient and family satisfaction: [i.e.], non- or less-invasive, fast, and with better diagnostic results.”

Contrast ultrasound is a technology that can replicate magnetic resonance (MR) imaging using an ultrasound transducer. The benefit to the patient is greater diagnostic capability without radiation and need for sedation, and only a fraction of the price of MR imaging. The three-year grant will be used to fund an educational program within the Department of Radiology’s new Center for Pediatric Contrast Ultrasound (CPCU). Physicians and technologists will attend training seminars meant to replicate a patient visit, learn to use and read the contrast ultrasound, and analyze case studies.

“Bracco is proud to present CHOP with a plaque that designates this world-renowned institution as a Center of Excellence for Pediatric Ultrasound, as it represents the evolution of our contrast ultrasound education and research efforts,” says Vittorio Puppo, president and CEO of Bracco Diagnostics Inc.  “Bracco has invested significantly in education and sharing knowledge is at our core.  We are committed to supporting the medical community with advanced research and the appropriate use of our products to support our customers’ efforts to ultimately deliver the best care possible to their patients.”

The Department of Radiology at CHOP offers the most radiation-free and low-dose options in pediatric imaging in the region, according to the facility.