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Dynamic computed tomographic evaluation of the pituitary gland in healthy dogs

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  • 1 Division of Diagnostic Imaging, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • | 2 Present address is ACE Pharmaceuticals BV, PO Box 1262, 3980 BB Zeewolde, The Netherlands.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Utrecht University, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • | 4 Division of Diagnostic Imaging, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the contrast enhancement pattern of the pituitary gland in healthy dogs via dynamic computed tomography (CT).

Animals—17 dogs.

Procedure—With each dog in sternal recumbency, transverse CT scans were made perpendicular to the skull base from the rostral clinoid processes to the dorsum sellae. At the position of the image that contained the largest cross section of the pituitary gland, a series of 9 to 11 scans was made during and after IV injection of contrast medium (dynamic CT scans). The contrast enhancement pattern of the pituitary gland and surrounding arteries was assessed visually and by use of time-density curves.

Results—After strong enhancement of the maxillary arteries, the intracavernous parts of the internal carotid arteries, and the communicating arteries of the arterial cerebral circle, there was a strong enhancement of the central part of the pituitary gland followed by enhancement of its peripheral part. On the last images of the dynamic series of the pituitary gland, the central part was hypodense, compared with the peripheral part. Time-density curves confirmed an early, strong enhancement of the central part and a delayed, less strong enhancement of the peripheral part of the gland.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The difference in enhancement between the central and peripheral parts of the pituitary gland was attributable to a difference in vascularization of the neurohypophysis and adenohypophysis, respectively. Distortion or disappearance of the strong central enhancement (pituitary flush) may be used for the detection and localization of pituitary abnormalities in the adenohypophysis. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1518–1524)

Abstract

Objective—To determine the contrast enhancement pattern of the pituitary gland in healthy dogs via dynamic computed tomography (CT).

Animals—17 dogs.

Procedure—With each dog in sternal recumbency, transverse CT scans were made perpendicular to the skull base from the rostral clinoid processes to the dorsum sellae. At the position of the image that contained the largest cross section of the pituitary gland, a series of 9 to 11 scans was made during and after IV injection of contrast medium (dynamic CT scans). The contrast enhancement pattern of the pituitary gland and surrounding arteries was assessed visually and by use of time-density curves.

Results—After strong enhancement of the maxillary arteries, the intracavernous parts of the internal carotid arteries, and the communicating arteries of the arterial cerebral circle, there was a strong enhancement of the central part of the pituitary gland followed by enhancement of its peripheral part. On the last images of the dynamic series of the pituitary gland, the central part was hypodense, compared with the peripheral part. Time-density curves confirmed an early, strong enhancement of the central part and a delayed, less strong enhancement of the peripheral part of the gland.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The difference in enhancement between the central and peripheral parts of the pituitary gland was attributable to a difference in vascularization of the neurohypophysis and adenohypophysis, respectively. Distortion or disappearance of the strong central enhancement (pituitary flush) may be used for the detection and localization of pituitary abnormalities in the adenohypophysis. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1518–1524)