Comparison of a computed tomographic pulmonary trunk to aorta diameter ratio with echocardiographic indices of pulmonary hypertension in dogs

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Sutherland-Smith J, Hankin EJ, Cunningham SM, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2018;59:18-26.

There are limited criteria for the detection of pulmonary hypertension in dogs undergoing computed tomography (CT) for pulmonary disease. This retrospective analytical exploratory study compared a CT pulmonary trunk to aorta ratio with echocardiographic estimates of pulmonary hypertension. Dogs having both a contrast thoracic CT and echocardiogram were selected and maximal pulmonary trunk and descending aorta diameters were measured by two observers on a single transverse CT image. Computed tomographic diameter ratios were compared with the echocardiographic parameters of tricuspid regurgitation gradient, right ventricular acceleration time-to-ejection time ratio, pulmonary insufficiency gradient, and pulmonary artery to aorta diameter. A total of 78 dogs were sampled, with 44 dogs having one or more finding suggestive of pulmonary hypertension. A moderate positive correlation was shown between tricuspid regurgitation gradient and CT pulmonary trunk to aorta ratio (r = 0.61, P-value < 0.0001). Mean CT pulmonary trunk to aorta ratio of dogs with moderate (P = 0.0132) and severe (P < 0.0003) pulmonary hypertension were significantly higher than normal dogs. There was no significant difference in mean CT pulmonary trunk to aorta ratio between normal and mild pulmonary hypertension dogs (P = 0.4244). The intraclass correlation coefficient (0.72) showed good reproducibility of the ratio. Findings indicated that CT pulmonary trunk to aorta ratio is a reproducible and potentially useful method to predict moderate and severe pulmonary hypertension in dogs, but not mild pulmonary hypertension. In dogs undergoing thoracic CT for pulmonary disease, an increased ratio should prompt follow up echocardiography.