Lam R, Niessen SJ, Lamb CR.
X-ray attenuation of the liver has been measured using computed tomography (CT) and reported to decrease in cats with experimentally induced hepatic lipidosis. To assess the clinical utility of this technique, medical records and noncontrast CT scans of a series of cats were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 112 cats met inclusion criteria and were stratified into three hepatic lipidosis risk groups. Group 1 cats were considered low-risk based on no history of inappetence or weight loss, and normal serum chemistry values; Group 2 cats were considered intermediate risk based on weight loss, serum hepatic enzymes above normal limits, or reasonably controlled diabetes mellitus; and Group 3 cats were considered high risk based on poorly controlled diabetes mellitus due to hypersomatotropism. Mean CT attenuation values (Hounsfield units, HU) were measured using regions of interest placed within the liver and cranial pole of the right kidney. Hepatic and renal attenuation were weakly positively correlated with each other (r = 0.2, P = 0.03) and weakly negatively correlated with body weight (r = −0.21, P = 0.05, and r = −0.34, P = 0.001, respectively). Mean (SD) hepatic and renal cortical attenuation values were 70.7 (8.7) HU and 49.6 (9.2) HU for Group 1 cats, 71.4 (7.9) HU and 48.6 (9.1) HU for Group 2, and 68.9 (7.6) HU and 47.6 (7.2) HU for Group 3. There were no significant differences in hepatic or renal attenuation among groups. Findings indicated that CT measures of X-ray attenuation in the liver and kidney may not be accurate predictors of naturally occurring hepatic lipidosis in cats.