COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Multidetector CT imaging of pleura: comparison of two contrast infusion protocols

V Raj, R Kirke, M J Bankart, J J Entwisle
British Journal of Radiology 2011, 84 (1005): 796-9
21159803

OBJECTIVES: Imaging of the pleura by multidetector CT (MDCT) can be challenging. There is no clear evidence or guidelines on contrast infusion parameters for imaging pleura. We compared two contrast protocols for assessing pleural pathology on MDCT.

METHODS: This was a prospective study in which consecutive patients with MDCT for suspected pleural disease on chest radiograph were randomised into two groups. The first group received 150 ml of intravenous contrast at a rate of 2.5 ml s(-1) and the second group received 100 ml at 2 ml s(-1). Images were acquired after a 60 s delay. Hounsfield units of the pleura, thoracic aorta, main pulmonary artery, portal vein and superior mesenteric artery were measured and analysed by two independent readers.

RESULTS: 40 patients (20 in each group) who had pleural enhancement on MDCT were included for final analysis. The mean pleural enhancement value was 83 HU (Group A) vs 59 HU (Group B) (p = 0.0004). The mean aortic enhancement was 241 HU (A) vs 141 HU (B) (p<0.0001); main pulmonary artery enhancement was 208 HU (A) vs 139 HU (B) (p<0.0002); portal venous enhancement was 169 HU (A) vs 115 HU (B) (p<0.0001); and the superior mesenteric artery enhancement was 215 HU (A) vs 128 HU (B) (p<0.0001).

CONCLUSION: Enhancement of the pleura and major vessels was significantly higher in the group receiving more contrast at a greater infusion rate. This technique of a single scan through the entire pleural surface with a delayed acquisition is promising. When pleural disease is suspected, contrast infusion protocols should be modified to achieve the best results and clinicians should be encouraged to specifically request a "pleural CT".

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