Bottorff S, Stieger-Vanegas SM.
The goal of this study was to prospectively evaluate the clinical utility of contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) in dogs with pericardial effusion (PE). Eleven dogs with PE were evaluated via thoracic radiography, transthoracic echocardiography (TTE), and contrast-enhanced thoracic and abdominal CT. Two dogs had small volume PE and 9 had moderate to large volume PE with echocardiographic evidence of cardiac tamponade. TTE was performed in 9/11 dogs prior to pericardiocentesis (PCC), whereas CT was performed after PCC in 10/11 dogs. A right atrial mass was identified in 5/ 11 dogs via TTE and a heart base mass was identified in 1/11 dogs. One dog was diagnosed with PE due to right heart failure via TTE. Mesothelioma was later diagnosed in this dog via sternal lymph node cytology. CT detected findings consistent with TTE in all dogs with right atrial (5/5) and heart base masses (1/ 1). Localized pericardial hemorrhage and soft tissue changes at the site of PCC suggested a mass lesion by CT in 3/11 dogs. In all dogs mild to moderate sternal lymphadenopathy was noted using CT, which was not noted on radiographs. CT identified hepatic and splenic lesions in 5/11 and 6/11 dogs, respectively. Pulmonary metastasis was identified in 1/11 dogs via thoracic radiography and in 2/11 dogs via CT. Cardiac masses were con- firmed by histopathology in 3/6 dogs.
In this population of dogs, CT and TTE had similar sensitivity for the detection of cardiac masses in dogs with PE. The value of CT resided primarily in the detection of pulmonary metastasis and extra-cardiac lesions in the liver and spleen. Pericardiocentesis performed prior to CT evaluation may confound the interpretation of CT in dogs with PE.