ISSN 2398-2950      

Computed tomography: thorax

ffelis
Contributor(s):

Tobias Schwarz

Randi Drees

Synonym(s): CT: chest


Introduction

  • Diagnostic imaging is essential in the work-up of cats with thoracic disease.
  • Traditionally, thoracic imaging work-up was done with radiography.
  • Computed tomography allows complete assessment of the thoracic cavity, as well as the abdomen and other body parts within a few minutes.
  • Computed tomography uses ionizing radiation, therefore particular health and safety measures apply.

Uses

  • Dyspnea, tachypnea, hyperpnea.
  • Investigation of chest wall masses Thorax: masses.
  • Hemothorax Hemothorax, suspected pleural effusion Pleural effusion.
  • Crackles on auscultation.
  • Cyanosis.
  • Machinery murmur.
  • Hemoptysis.
  • Cough.
  • Staging for metastatic disease.

Common conditions in the thorax diagnosable with CT

Advantages

  • Detailed assessment of the entire thorax.
  • Can visualized areas beyond the heart compared to ultrasound-based echocardiography.
  • Can be done under sedation-only with modern CT units.

Disadvantages

  • Expensive equipment that require 3-phase power supply, dedicated room.
  • Emits ionizing radiation, patients cannot be handheld be personnel.
  • Patients need to be safely constrained, usually requires at least sedation.
  • Some soft tissue detail, such as wall layering of the intestine, is better delineated with ultrasound.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Oliveira C R, Ranallo F N, Pijanowski G J, Mitchell M A, O’Brien M A, McMichael M, Hartman S K, Matheson J S, O’Brien R T (2011) The VetmouseTrapTM: a device for computed tomographic imaging of the thorax of awake cats. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 52, 41-52 PubMed.  

Other sources of information

  • Schwarz T & Saunders J (2011) Veterinary Computed Tomography. Ames: Wiley-Blackwell.

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