Evaluation of Intraindividual Contrast Enhancement Variability for Determining the Maximum Achievable Consistency in CT.
OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to quantify temporal variability in vascular and parenchymal enhancement within the same patient and to determine technique-related factors contributing to this variability. MATERIALS AND METHODS. We identified 100 patients who underwent four CT scans within 12 months with identical acquisition and contrast injection parameters. Enhancement was recorded in the abdominal aorta, main portal vein, liver parenchyma, and subcutaneous fat. Patient demographic and body habitus data were recorded. Injection-related factors were recorded including delay time from contrast injection to image acquisition. All pairwise differences in enhancement within each patient were evaluated for absolute and percentage change. RESULTS. Based on predetermined thresholds, we observed clinically relevant variability in 34% of patients for the abdominal aorta, 38% for the portal vein, and 33% for the liver parenchyma. A highly significant association was observed between higher variability in delay time and variability in the abdominal aorta (p = 0.009) and between female sex and variability in liver parenchyma (p = 0.008). A marginally significant association was seen between increasing age (p = 0.025) and female sex (p = 0.039) with variability in the abdominal aorta. No statistically significant association was found between all recorded variables and variability in the portal vein. CONCLUSION. Approximately one-third of patients may show clinically relevant variability in enhancement of the abdominal aorta, portal vein, and liver parenchyma even when using identical scanning and injection parameters. Delay time was the only controllable factor associated with variability in enhancement of the abdominal aorta; no other controllable factor is associated with variability in the portal vein or liver parenchyma.
Johnson, DY; Farjat, AE; Vernuccio, F; Hurwitz, LM; Nelson, RC; Marin, D
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