Evaluation of the feline pancreas using computed tomography and radiolabeled leukocytes

Head LL, Daniel GB, Tobias K, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2003;44:420-428.

This study was designed to test the feasibility and utility of computed tomography and radiolabeled granulocytes in evaluating the feline pancreas in six normal cats. Autologous granulocytes were labeled with 99mTc-hexamethylpropyleneamine oxime (HMPAO) and injected into each cat. Whole body scintigraphic images were acquired at 1, 5, 15, and 30 minutes, and 1, 2, and 4 hours following injection. The following day, each cat was anesthetized and computed tomographic images of the abdomen were acquired both pre- and post-contrast. Following CT, a surgical pancreatic biopsy was collected. Feline granulocytes were successfully labeled with 99mTc-HMPAO with a labeling efficiency of 15-42% (average of 27%). An average of 5.42 x 10(7) cells in a 2 mL volume were injected into each cat. Less than 1 minute was required to acquire 500,000 count images. Granulocytes distributed predominantly to the lung, spleen and liver in order of decreasing activity. Only background activity was identified in the region of the pancreas. The pancreas was easily identified on CT images of the abdomen. The pancreas was hypoattenuating relative to both the spleen and liver. The pancreas enhanced with the administration of contrast medium, peaking immediately, then gradually clearing over the 30-minute test period. Following contrast medium administration the pancreas remained hypoattenuating relative to the spleen. All biopsies confirmed the absence of pancreatic inflammation in the study cats and no adverse effects were recognized as a result of pancreatic biopsy. Both computed tomography and radiolabeled granulocytes appear to hold promise as imaging procedures for the detection of feline pancreatitis. We predict that these described normal parameters may be altered in the face of inflammation, facilitating detection of feline pancreatitis. Data from cases of suspect feline pancreatitis are needed to evaluate these methods for clinical utility.