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  • Author or Editor: Peter K. Shires x
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Objective—To test the effects of computed tomography (CT) image plane and window settings on diagnostic certainty for CT characteristics associated with dysplastic elbow joints (elbow joint dysplasia) in dogs and to provide optimal display guidelines for these CT characteristics.

Sample Population—CT images of 50 dysplastic elbow joints from 49 lame dogs and 10 elbow joints from 5 sound dogs.

Procedures—CT image data were obtained in transverse, sagittal, and dorsal planes. Each plane was examined by use of 3 Hounsfield unit (HU) window settings. Two veterinary radiologists independently evaluated sets of CT images for evidence of 7 CT characteristics. Effect of elbow joint status, image plane, and window settings on diagnostic certainty for these CT characteristics was tested by use of a visual analogue scale.

Results—Diagnostic certainty for abnormalities of the medial coronoid process (MCP) and radial incisure was highest in the transverse plane, subchondral defects or sclerosis of the trochlea humeri was highest in the dorsal plane, and joint incongruity was highest in the sagittal plane. Certainty for hypoattenuating subchondral defects or fissures was highest at 2,500 or 3,500 HUs, whereas certainty for subchondral sclerosis was highest at 1,500 HUs and lowest at 3,500 HUs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Diagnostic certainty for CT characteristics of elbow joint dysplasia in dogs was affected by image display variables. Diagnostic certainty for altered subchondral bone density was primarily influenced by window settings, whereas structural MCP abnormalities and joint incongruity were influenced most by image plane.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objectives—To evaluate computed tomography (CT) densitometry as a technique for quantifying contrast enhancement of compressive soft tissues in the canine lumbosacral vertebral canal and to determine whether the degree of contrast enhancement can be used to help predict tissue type or histopathologic characteristics.

Animals—29 large breed dogs with lumbosacral stenosis.

Procedure—Contrast-enhanced CT of L5-S3 was performed by use of a previously described protocol. At each disk level, CT densities of a water-filled syringe, epaxial muscles, and 4 vertebral canal locations were measured. Mean tissue enhancement was calculated by vertebral canal location, using water-filled syringe enhancement as a correction factor. Corrected CT enhancement was compared with tissue type, degree of tissue inflammation, and degree of tissue activity.

Results—Intravenous contrast administration of contrast medium significantly increased CT densities of water-filled syringes and epaxial muscles. Corrected CT enhancement of vertebral canal soft tissues at stenotic sites was greater than at nonstenotic sites. There was no association between enhancement and tissue type for any vertebral canal location. There was no correlation between enhancement and degree of tissue inflammation. There was a correlation between enhancement and tissue activity in the dorsal vertebral canal only.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A water-filled syringe is a useful calibration tool for CT density measurements. The degree of tissue contrast enhancement, measured by CT densitometry, can be helpful for predicting the location of compressive soft tissues in dogs with lumbosacral stenosis. However, it is of limited value for predicting compressive soft-tissue types or histopathologic characteristics. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:733–737)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research