OBJECTIVE To investigate the effects of respiratory phase, body position, beam center location, and gastric distention on radiographic assessment of liver size in dogs.
ANIMALS 12 Beagles.
PROCEDURES Liver length and the ratio of liver length to T11 length were determined on lateral radiographic views obtained with various techniques. Images were acquired at maximal expiration or maximal inspiration, with dogs in right or left recumbency, with the beam centered on the caudal border of the scapula or the 13th rib, and after food was withheld or with gastric distention. Effects on organs adjacent to the liver were assessed with CT. Changes of the thoracic cavity during the respiratory cycle were investigated with fluoroscopy.
RESULTS Liver length was significantly greater on radiographs obtained at maximal expiration than at maximal inspiration, but there was no increase in the ratio of liver length to T11 length. Body position, beam center location, and gastric distention did not significantly affect liver size. For CT, location of the spleen and stomach and location or size of the liver did not change markedly between right and left recumbency. Fluoroscopy revealed that thoracic width was less at maximal expiration than maximal inspiration.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Liver length was greater at maximal expiration than at maximal inspiration because of a smaller thoracic width. Body position, beam center location, and gastric distention did not affect liver length. The ratio of liver length to T11 length was not significantly affected by any of the factors investigated.