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Dr. Costa's research published on Assessment of Cirrhotic Liver Enhancement

Posted by Krista Whitehouse on July 15, 2017 in Abdominal

Dr. Costa's research on "Assessment of Cirrhotic Liver Enhancement With Multiphasic Computed Tomography Using a Faster Injection Rate, Late Arterial Phase, and Weight-Based Contrast Dosing" has been published.

The study aimed to update our liver computed tomography (CT) protocol according to published guidelines, and to quantitatively evaluate the effect of these modifications.


The modified liver CT protocol employed a faster injection rate (5 vs 3 mL/s), later arterial phase (20-second vs 10-second postbolus trigger), and weight-based dosing of iodinated contrast (1.7 mL/kg vs 100 mL fixed dose). Liver and vascular attenuation values were measured on CTs of patients with cirrhosis from January to September 2015 (old protocol, n = 49) and from October to December 2015 (modified protocol, n = 31). CTs were considered adequate if liver enhancement exceeded 50 Hounsfield units (HU) in portal venous phase, or when the unenhanced phase was unavailable, if a minimum iodine concentration of 500 mg I/kg was achieved. Attenuations and iodine concentrations were compared using the t test and the number of suboptimal studies was compared with Fisher's exact test.


CTs acquired with the modified protocol demonstrated higher aortic (P = .001) and portal vein (P < .0001) attenuations in the arterial phase as well as greater hepatic attenuation on all postcontrast phases (P = .0006, .002, and .003 for arterial, venous, and equilibrium phases, respectively). Hepatic enhancement in the portal venous phase (61 ± 15 HU vs 51 ± 16 HU; P = .0282) and iodine concentrations (595 ± 88 mg I/kg vs 456 ± 112 mg I/kg; P < .0001) were improved, and the number of suboptimal studies was reduced from 57% to 23% (P = .01).


A liver CT protocol with later arterial phase, faster injection rate, and weight-based dosing of intravenous contrast significantly improves liver enhancement and iodine concentrations in patients with cirrhosis, resulting in significantly fewer suboptimal studies.


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