Paradoxical Effect of Cardiac Output on Arterial Enhancement at Computed Tomography: Does Cardiac Output Reduction Simply Result in an Increase in Aortic Peak Enhancement?

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of cardiac output (CO) on aortic peak enhancement using protocols with different contrast material (CM) injection durations.

Methods

We used a flow phantom that simulated the human circulatory system. Contrast material was injected at a rate of 4.0 mL/s for a period of 2.5, 5, 10, 15, or 20 seconds for a CO of 2.8, 4.2, and 5.6 L/min. Single-level serial computed tomography scans of the simulated aorta were acquired after the start of CM delivery, and aortic peak enhancement was recorded under the different injection protocols.

Results

Under a long injection duration protocol (20 seconds), a decrease in CO increased aortic peak enhancement proportionally (CO of 2.8 L/min, 420 Hounsfield units [HU]; CO of 4.2 L/min, 365 HU; CO of 5.6 L/min, 291 HU). However, this effect was decreased under shorter injection duration protocols (5, 10, and 15 seconds); under the shortest (2.5-second) injection duration protocol, a decrease in CO resulted in a decrease in aortic peak enhancement (CO of 2.8 L/min, 36 HU; CO of 4.2 L/min, 51 HU; CO of 5.6 L/min, 55 HU).

Conclusions

The magnitude of the effect of CO on aortic peak enhancement depends on the CM injection duration.

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