Determination of optimal timing window for pulmonary artery MDCT angiography

Chang Hyun Lee, Jin Mo Goo, Hyun Ju Lee, Kwang Gi Kim, Jung-Gi Im, Kyongtae T Bae, C H Lee, J M Goo, H J Lee, K G Kim, J-G Im, K T Bae
AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology 2007, 188 (2): 313-7

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of our study was to determine the optimal timing window for pulmonary artery MDCT angiography.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We prospectively studied 150 patients. Routine chest CT scans were acquired using 1.3 mL/kg of contrast medium (370 mg I/mL) that was injected at a fixed injection duration of 30 seconds, followed by a 10-second saline chase. To measure early contrast enhancement, sequential monitoring scans were obtained every 2 seconds over a fixed level of the main pulmonary artery 5 seconds after the start of the injection. Then helical diagnostic scans were obtained at three different predetermined scanning delays (group A, 25 seconds; group B, 35 seconds; and group C, 45 seconds after the start of the injection). Time-enhancement curves; time to reach 100 H, 200 H, and peak enhancement; and enhancement duration greater than 200 H of the pulmonary artery were measured from the monitoring scan. Contrast enhancements of the pulmonary artery and descending aorta and vascular artifacts were assessed from the diagnostic scan.

RESULTS: Times to reach 100 H and 200 H at the pulmonary artery were mean 11 +/- 2.5 (SD) seconds and 16 +/- 3.0 seconds, respectively. Pulmonary artery enhancement duration of greater than 200 H was 25 +/- 2.7 seconds (only obtained in group C). Mean time to peak enhancement (335 +/- 62 H) at the pulmonary artery was 37 seconds. Mean enhancement measured on the diagnostic scan was 294 +/- 43 H, group A; 208 +/- 48 H, group B; and 157 +/- 15 H, group C for the pulmonary artery, and 240 +/- 42 H, group A; 277 +/- 49 H, group B; and 172 +/- 29 H, group C for the aorta (p < 0.01). Artifacts were noted in the superior vena cava (group A, 96.7%; group B, 18.3%; and group C, 0%) and in the subclavian vein (group A, 93.5%; group B, 38.7%; and group C, 0%), (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: With our study protocol of a 30-second injection and 10-second saline flush, the optimal temporal window to achieve pulmonary artery enhancement greater than 200 H was from 16 seconds to 41 seconds after the start of the injection.

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