MATTHEW D. WINTER, LINDA M. KINNEY, LAWRENCE J. KLEINE.
The objective of this study was to develop a simple, safe, minimally invasive protocol to evaluate the hepatic vasculature. Five purpose-bred Beagle dogs underwent noncontrast-enhanced computed tomographic scan of the entire abdomen. A dynamic, nonincremental computed tomography scan at the level of T11 was then performed using a test bolus of contrast medium to determine time to peak opacification and to aid in the calculation of scan delay. The time to peak arterial enhancement ranged from 2.0 to 7.0†s, with a median of 2.0†s. The time to peak portal venous enhancement ranged from 23.0 to 46.0†s, with a median of 32.0†s. Scan delay for arterial opacification ranged from 0 to 5.0†s, with a median of 0†s. Scan delay for the portal phase of opacification ranged from 6.0 to 21.0†s, with a median of 17.0†s. Using this information, two separate computed tomographic studies were used to image the arterial and portal venous phases of circulatory opacification, respectively. The dogs were hyperventilated to prevent breathing motion during the scan, each of which required approximately 20†s. A power injector was used to inject diatrizoate meglumine (128†mg†I/kg) through an 18-gauge cephalic vein catheter at a rate of 5†ml/s. Scanning was initiated after the appropriate scan delay to optimize the specific phase of vascular filling. Maximum intensity projections allowed clear delineation of the hepatic arteries and the portal venous system, while eliminating overlying structures that might interfere with image analysis. Time/density curves were generated, and the time needed for each study was recorded. Hepatic arteries and portal veins were clearly visualized in all dogs. Parenchymal opacification was also observed.