Investigation of optimal sample preparation conditions with potassium triiodide and optimal imaging settings for microfocus computed tomography of excised cat hearts

Ian C Simcock, J Ciaran Hutchinson, Susan C Shelmerdine, Jose Novos Matos, Neil J Sebire, Virginia Luis Fuentes, Owen J Arthurs
American Journal of Veterinary Research 2020, 81 (4): 326-333

OBJECTIVE: To determine optimal sample preparation conditions with potassium triiodide (I2 KI) and optimal imaging settings for microfocus CT (micro-CT) of excised cat hearts.

SAMPLE: 7 excised hearts (weight range, 10 to 17.6 g) obtained from healthy adult cats after euthanasia by IV injection of pentobarbital sodium.

PROCEDURES: Following excision, the hearts were preserved in 10% formaldehyde solution. Six hearts were immersed in 1.25% I2 KI solution (n = 3) or 2.5% I2 KI solution (3) for a 12-day period. Micro-CT images were acquired at time 0 (prior to iodination) then approximately every 24 and 48 hours thereafter to determine optimal sample preparation conditions (ie, immersion time and concentration of I2 KI solution). Identified optimal conditions were then used to prepare the seventh heart for imaging; changes in voltage, current, exposure time, and gain on image quality were evaluated to determine optimal settings (ie, maximal signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios). Images were obtained at a voxel resolution of 30 μm. A detailed morphological assessment of the main cardiac structures of the seventh heart was then performed.

RESULTS: Immersion in 2.5% I2 KI solution for 48 hours was optimal for sample preparation. The optimal imaging conditions included a tube voltage of 100 kV, current of 150 μA, and exposure time of 354 milliseconds; scan duration was 12 minutes.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results provided an optimal micro-CT imaging protocol for excised cat hearts prepared with I2 KI solution that could serve as a basis for future studies of micro-CT for high resolution 3-D imaging of cat hearts.

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