Arterial attenuation in individualized computed tomography pulmonary angiography injection protocol adjusted based on the patient's body mass index.
Background: The aim of this study was to optimize computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) protocols with regard to improve vascular attenuation without increasing contrast media (CM) volumes. Therefore, we compared the standard CTPA protocol to an individualized contrast media injection protocols adjusted for the patient's body mass index (BMI).
Materials and methods: Two groups of 295 patients with suspected pulmonary embolism (PE) have been receiving CTPA. Group 1 received a standard protocol without taking patient's BMI into account. Group 2 received a CTPA scan, where dose and flow rate of CM injections were adjusted for the patient's BMI. Images were retrospectively analyzed by drawing regions of interests in defined positions in the superior vena cava, descending aorta, the pulmonary main trunk as well as the left and right lower lobe arteries. Intravascular attenuation, contrast volumes, and flow rates were compared using unpaired t-tests. Furthermore, a qualitative image analysis was performed by two experienced readers blinded for the protocol used for image acquisition to evaluate the image quality and arterial attenuation.
Results: Patient's BMI was similar in both the groups (27.5 ± 1.5 kg/m2 vs. 28.4 ± 2.1 kg/m2; P = 0.67). Contrast volumes were lower (54.2 ± 4.8 ml vs. 55 ml; P < 0.05), and flow rates (4.1 ± 0.3 ml/s vs. 3.5 ml/s; P < 0.05) were significantly higher in the individualized protocol. The qualitative image analysis yielded an agreement on diagnostic interpretability in the individualized and standard group of 49% and 51% (95% Wilson confidence interval for mean), respectively.
Conclusion: An individualized CTPA protocol based on the patient's BMI reduced the contrast media volume and led to an increased pulmonary artery enhancement improving image quality, particularly in the evaluation of the peripheral pulmonary arteries. Thus, contrast media volumes in CTPA should be adjusted for the patient's BMI.