Effect of catheter size and injection rate of contrast agent on enhancement and image quality for triple-phase helical computed tomography of the liver in small dogs

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Lee S-K, Lee D, Kim D, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2017;58:664-670.

Rapid contrast injection is recommended for triple-phase helical computed tomography (CT) of the liver. However, a large-gauge catheter is needed for faster contrast injection and this is not practical for small breed dogs or cats. The purpose of this crossover group study was to evaluate applicability of a lower injection rate with a small-gauge (G) catheter for triple-phase hepatic CT in small dogs. Triple-phase CT images were acquired for six beagle dogs using three protocols: an injection rate of 1.5 ml/s with a 24 G catheter, 3.0 ml/s with a 22 G catheter, and 4.5 ml/s with a 20 G catheter. Enhancement of the aorta, portal vein, and hepatic parenchyma was measured in each phase (arterial, portal, and delayed) and image quality was scored subjectively by two observers. Injection duration, time to scan delay, and time to peak enhancement were also recorded. Contrast injection duration decreased with a higher injection rate (n = 6, P ≤ 0.01), but time to peak enhancement and time to scan delay were not significantly affected by injection rates and catheter sizes. Contrast injection rate did not significantly affect aortic, portal, and hepatic enhancement. In addition, separation between each phase and quality of images was subjectively scored as good regardless of injection rate. Findings from the current study supported using an injection rate of 1.5 ml/s with a catheter size of 24 G for triple-phase hepatic CT in small dogs (weight < 12 kg).