Weight-based contrast administration in the computerized tomography evaluation of acute pulmonary embolism: Challenges in optimizing imaging quality

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Abstract

Compare individualized contrast protocol, or weight-based protocol, to standard methodology in evaluating acute pulmonary embolism.

Retrospective chart review was performed on patients undergoing computed tomography angiography with standard contrast protocol (n = 50) or individualized protocol (n = 50). Computerized tomography images were assessed for vascular enhancement and image quality.

Demographics were comparable, however, more patients in the individualized group were admitted to intensive care unit (48% vs 16%, P = 0.004). Vascular enhancement and image quality were also comparable, although individualized protocol had significantly fewer contrast and motion artifact limitations (28% vs 48%, P = 0.039). Fifteen percent decrease in intravenous contrast volume was identified in individualized group with no compromise in image quality.

Individualized contrast protocol provided comparable vascular enhancement and image quality to the standard, yet with fewer limitations and lower intravenous contrast volume. Catheter-gauge flow rate restrictions resulting in inconsistent technologist exam execution were identified, supporting the need for further investigation of this regimen.

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