Computed tomographic pulmonary angiography may be indeterminate in regions of slow arterial flow because of underlying lung disease. In this case, dynamic computed tomographic angiography of the pulmonary vasculature (dynamic CTPA) was used to confirm flow variation within the pulmonary arteries in regions of pulmonary fibrosis and excluded pulmonary embolism.
Dynamic CTPA successfully demonstrates flow variation within the pulmonary arteries and may be a useful adjunct to exclude pulmonary embolism in CTPA cases with questionable arterial filling defects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To retrospectively review imaging characteristics of indeterminate computed tomographic (CT) pulmonary angiograms for pulmonary embolism (PE) and patient outcome.
Investigational review board approval was obtained, informed consent was waived, and the study was HIPAA compliant. Retrospective review of 3612 CT pulmonary angiography reports created between July 1, 2001, and July 1, 2003, was performed with a keyword search for "indeterminate," "nondiagnostic," or "inadequate" (thereafter, all defined as "indeterminate") and yielded studies from 237 patients (mean age, 57 years; 117 men, 120 women). Randomly selected diagnostic studies were used to form a control group of 25 subjects (mean age, 64 years; eight men, 17 women). Electronic medical records were reviewed for follow-up imaging (repeat CT pulmonary angiography, conventional pulmonary angiography, ventilation-perfusion scintigraphy, or lower-extremity ultrasonography [US]), use of anticoagulation, placement of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters, clinical outcomes, and comments regarding indeterminate reading of CT angiograms. Studies (in patients and control subjects) were reviewed for PE, contrast attenuation in the main pulmonary artery (MPA), motion artifacts, image noise, and flow artifacts. Findings were compared with two-sample t tests assuming unequal variance.
The cause cited for indeterminism was most often motion (74%), followed by poor contrast enhancement (40%). Contrast attenuation in the MPA was 245 HU +/- 80 (standard deviation) in patients and 339 HU +/- 88 in control subjects (P < .001). Only 46% of indeterminate studies met institutional criteria for adequate contrast attenuation in the MPA. Rereview of studies demonstrated five missed PEs. A total of 81 patients (33%) underwent follow-up imaging within 5 days, with one positive pulmonary angiogram and four positive lower-limb US scans. Reread or follow-up images depicted thromboembolic disease in 4.2% of patients. Nineteen patients (8%) with indeterminate final result were treated for thromboembolic disease with either anticoagulation or IVC filters. Reports on 22% of indeterminate studies contained recommendations for follow-up imaging, and those recommendations nonsignificantly increased the rate for those examinations from 13% to 19%. Review of discharge summaries showed 22% of studies are clinically interpreted as negative.
The two major causes of indeterminism are motion artifacts and poor contrast enhancement.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To compare multi-detector row computed tomography (CT) and ventilation-perfusion (V-P) scintigraphy in the diagnosis of acute pulmonary embolism (PE) in outpatients who were cared for in the emergency department.
Ninety-four nonconsecutive patients, in whom acute PE was suspected, underwent thin-collimation multi-detector row CT (collimation, 4 x 1 mm; pitch, 1.25; scanning time, 0.5 second) and V-P scintigraphy. Concordance between CT and scintigraphic images was used in the diagnosis of PE. Pulmonary angiography was performed within 24 hours if interpretations of V-P and spiral CT images were inconclusive or discordant. Sensitivity and specificity values were calculated for V-P scintigrams and CT scans of the lungs. The rates of conclusive results for scintigraphy and CT were compared.
The sensitivity of thin-collimation multi-detector row CT and V-P scintigraphy for the detection of PE was 96% (27 of 28; CI: 82%, 99%) and 98% (65 of 66; CI: 92%, 99%), respectively. The specificity of CT and V-P scintigraphy was 86% (24 of 28; CI: 67%, 96%) and 88% (58 of 66; CI: 77%, 94%), respectively. Seven V-P scintigrams were of intermediate probability, and one spiral CT study was indeterminate. Examinations with spiral CT yielded conclusive results more often than examinations with planar V-P scintigraphy (P <.05). Five V-P scintigrams and spiral CT scans were discordant. Twelve pulmonary angiographic examinations were performed. Angiographic findings were concordant in 10 (91%) of 11 patients with conclusive CT scans in whom pulmonary angiography was attempted. CT was used to establish an alternative diagnosis in 19 (29%) of 66 patients in whom PE was excluded.
Thin-collimation multi-detector row CT is more accurate than V-P scintigraphy in the diagnosis of acute PE in outpatients. Furthermore, CT provides alternative diagnoses for patients without PE on high-quality transverse or near-isotropic reformatted images.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to identify perfusion defects of the lung using computed tomography (CT). A balloon catheter was placed in a lobar pulmonary artery of six anesthetized, ventilated, juvenile pigs to simulate occlusive segmental embolus. Contrast medium was injected via a central venous catheter at rates of 1.5, 3, 4.5, and 9 ml/s in each pig. A 40-second single-level cine CT was acquired distal to the inflated balloon during suspended inspiration. Three computer-manipulated images (time to maximal enhancement, change in maximal attenuation, maximal contrast minus precontrast subtraction) were generated using custom software and compared with the unmodified maximal enhancement and precontrast images. Two independent observers identified perfusion defects and scored the level of confidence (5-point scale) on all five images. Regions of interest were drawn in perfused and nonperfused lung and time-attenuation curves were generated. Perfusion defects were accurately (99.8 +/- 0.3%) and confidently (4.5 +/- 0.6) detected and there was excellent interobserver agreement (Kappa 0.99 +/- 0.02) on all computer-manipulated images. There was a significant increase in confidence (p < 0.05) between contrast medium injection rates of 1.5 and 9 ml/s. A linear relationship exists (r = 0.88) between injection rate and change in maximal attenuation. In conclusion, perfusion defects of the lung are seen using computer-manipulated CT images.
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