Comparison of computed tomography pulmonary angiography and point-of-care tests for pulmonary thromboembolism diagnosis in dogs

Goggs R, Chan DL, Benigni L, et al.

J Small Anim Pract 2014;55:190-197.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the feasibility of CT pulmonary angiography for identification of naturally occurring pulmonary thromboembolism in dogs using predefined diagnostic criteria and to assess the ability of echocardiography, cardiac troponins, D-dimers and kaolin-activated thromboelastography to predict the presence of pulmonary thromboembolism in dogs. METHODS: Twelve dogs with immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia and evidence of respiratory distress were prospectively evaluated. Dogs were sedated immediately before CT pulmonary angiography using intravenous butorphanol. Spiral CT pulmonary angiography was performed with a 16 detector-row CT scanner using a pressure injector to infuse contrast media through peripheral intravenous catheters. Pulmonary thromboembolism was diagnosed using predefined criteria. Contemporaneous tests included echocardiography, arterial blood gas analysis, kaolin-activated thromboelastography, D-dimers and cardiac troponins. RESULTS: Based on predefined criteria, four dogs were classified as pulmonary thromboembolism positive, three dogs were suspected to have pulmonary thromboembolism and the remaining five dogs had negative scans. The four dogs identified with pulmonary thromboembolism all had discrete filling defects in main or lobar pulmonary arteries. None of the contemporaneous tests was discriminant for pulmonary thromboembolism diagnosis, although the small sample size was limiting. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: CT pulmonary angiography can be successfully performed in dogs under sedation, even in at-risk patients with respiratory distress and can both confirm and rule out pulmonary thromboembolism in dogs.