Utility of diagnostic imaging in the diagnosis and management of schistosomiasis

David U. Olveda, Remigio M. Olveda, Alfred K. Lam, Thao N.P. Chau, Yuesheng Li, Angelo Don Gisparil, A. G. Ross

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    Diagnosis of schistosomiasis is made by demonstration of the parasite ova in stools, urine,and biopsy specimens from affected organs, or presence of antibodies to the different stages of the parasite or antigens circulating in body fluids by serologic techniques. DNA of schistosomes can now also be detected in serum and stool specimens by molecular technique.However, these tests are unable to determine the severity of target organ pathology and resultant complications. Accurate assessment of schistosome-induced morbidities is now made with the use of imaging techniques like ultrasound (US), computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). US has made major contributions in the diagnosis of hepatosplenic and urinary form of disease. This imaging method provides real time results, is portable (can be carried to the bed side and the field) and is lower in cost than other imaging techniques. Typical findings in hepatosplenic schistosomiasis by US include: hyperechoic fibrotic bands along the portal vessels (Symmer's fibrosis), reduction in the size of the right lobe, hypertrophy of the left lobe, splenomegaly, and ascites. More advanced ultrasound equipment like the colour Doppler ultrasound can characterize portal vein perfusion, a procedure that is critical for the prediction of disease prognosis and for treatment options for complicated portal hypertension. Although CT and MRI are more expensive, are hospital based, and require highly additional specially-trained personnel, they provide more accurate description of the pathology, not only in hepatosplenic and urinary forms of schistosomiasis, but also in the diagnosis of ectopic forms of the disease,particularly involving thebrain and spinal cord. MRI demonstrates better tissue differentiation and lack of exposure to ionizing radiation compared with CT.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number142
    Number of pages13
    JournalClinical microbiology (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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