Carmalt JL, Montgomery J.
Minimizing the volume of contrast administered for contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) of the equine head is desirable for reducing costs and risks of adverse reactions, however evidence-based studies on the effects of varying volumes on image quality are currently lacking. The objective of the current study was to determine whether low-volume intraarterial administration of contrast medium would result in an equivalent image quality and tissue attenuation vs. high-volume intravenous bolus administration. A prospective cross-over experimental design was used in a sample of six horses. After anesthetic induction, the right carotid artery was exposed surgically and catheterized. Four CT scans of the cranium were performed for each horse: baseline, immediately following intraarterial contrast injection, five-min postinjection (return to baseline) and a final scan after intravenous contrast administration. Soft tissue attenuation in predetermined regions of interest (ROI); and length, width, and height measurements of the pituitary gland were recorded at each time point. Horses were euthanized and measurements of the pituitary gland were repeated postmortem. No adverse reactions to contrast administration were observed. Intraarterial and intravenous administration of contrast medium resulted in significantly greater soft tissue enhancement of some brain ROI’s and the pituitary gland vs. baseline values. Pituitary gland measurements made on postcontrast CT images did not differ from those obtained during postmortem examination. Findings indicated that low-dose intraarterial administration of contrast material in the equine head resulted in comparable soft tissue enhancement vs. high volume intravenous administration.