Background. An accurate diagnosis of inferior vena cava (IVC) invasion is important in deciding the surgical strategy for a large adrenal tumor. We investigated the diagnostic value of intracaval endovascular ultrasonography (ICEUS) for invasion of the IVC by a large adrenal tumor. Methods. Nine of 163 patients with adrenal and retroperitoneal tumors underwent ICEUS between 1993 and 2002. Intravascular ultrasonography was performed through the right femoral vein with the use of an 8Fr, 20-MHz transducer. The diagnostic criterion for detecting IVC invasion with ICEUS was identification of destruction of a single echogenic layer of the IVC wall or identification of an intracaval tumor mass. The ICEUS finding was confirmed by pathologic examination. Results. The mean diameter of the tumors in 9 patients undergoing ICEUS and resection was 12.6 cm (range, 8.6-16 cm). Pathologic diagnosis varied: adrenocortical carcinoma, 4; malignant pheochromocytoma, 1; leiomyosarcoma, 1; metastatic lung cancer, 1; pamganglioma, 1; and neurilemmoma, 1. Vascular invasion was identified in 2 patients by ICEUS and confirmed by examination of resected specimens. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive values of ICEUS for the diagnosis of the IVC invasion were 100%, 100%, and 100%, respectively. However, these values for computed tomography were 100%, 14%, and 25%, respectively; and for cavography, 100%, 57%, and 40%, respectively. Conclusions. ICEUS provides confirmatory information regarding tumor invasion of the IVC. This modality also can assist in formulating an operative strategy for large adrenal or retroperitoneal tumors.
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