Henjes CR, Nolte I, Wefstaedt P.
BACKGROUND: Diagnosis of extracardiac intrathoracic vascular anomalies is of clinical importance, but remains challenging. Traditional imaging modalities, such as radiography, echocardiography, and angiography, are inherently limited by the difficulties of a 2-dimensional approach to a 3-dimensional object. We postulated that accurate characterization of malformations of the aorta would benefit from 3-dimensional assessment. Therefore, multidetector-row computed tomography (MDCT) was chosen as a 3-dimensional, new, and noninvasive imaging technique. The purpose of this study was to evaluate patients with 2 common diseases of the intrathoracic aorta, either patent ductus arteriosus or vascular ring anomaly, by contrast-enhanced 64-row computed tomography. RESULTS: Electrocardiography (ECG)-gated and thoracic nongated MDCT images were reviewed in identified cases of either a patent ductus arteriosus or vascular ring anomaly. Ductal size and morphology were determined in 6 dogs that underwent ECG-gated MDCT. Vascular ring anomalies were characterized in 7 dogs and 3 cats by ECG-gated MDCT or by a nongated thoracic standard protocol. Cardiac ECG-gated MDCT clearly displayed the morphology, length, and caliber of the patent ductus arteriosus in 6 affected dogs. Persistent right aortic arch was identified in 10 animals, 8 of which showed a coexisting aberrant left subclavian artery. A mild dilation of the proximal portion of the aberrant subclavian artery near its origin of the aorta was present in 4 dogs, and a diverticulum analogous to the human Kommerell’s diverticulum was present in 2 cats. CONCLUSIONS: Contrast-enhanced MDCT imaging of thoracic anomalies gives valuable information about the exact aortic arch configuration. Furthermore, MDCT was able to characterize the vascular branching patterns in dogs and cats with a persistent right aortic arch and the morphology and size of the patent ductus arteriosus in affected dogs. This additional information can be of help with regard to improved diagnoses of thoracic anomalies and the planning of surgical interventions.