Key words Computed tomography
head and neck
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Adequate contrast enhancement of major neck vessels is more important than that of a tumour itself in CT of most head and neck tumours because of differentiation from neck node metastases. Our purpose was to re-evaluate the dosage of contrast medium for adequate vascular enhancement in CT of the head and neck. In a blind prospective fashion, 60 patients with a variety of head and neck lesions were randomised into three equal groups receiving 0.75, 1.0, or 1.25 ml/kg of meglumine ioglycate, 300 mg/ml. Contrast medium was administered by injector at 2 ml/s. The scan time and interscan delay were each 1 s, and total scan time 50–180 s. The scan was started immediately after administration of two-thirds of the contrast medium. The degree of vascular enhancement was assessed visually and quantitatively. We visually scored the degree of vascular enhancement as excellent (4 points), good (3), fair (2) or poor (1). For quantitative study, after measuring the CT numbers of the common or internal carotid artery (CA), internal jugular vein (IJV) and adjacent muscle at three levels, were calculated mean vessel/muscle contrast ratios. The degree of enhancement of the CA and IJV tended to increase with dose of the contrast media, but no examination was rated as showing poor enhancement in any group. The mean visual assessment scores for 0.75, 1.0, and 1.25 ml/kg were 2.7, 2.9 and 3.1, respectively; the mean ICA/muscle contrast ratios were 1.58, 1.55 and 1.63, and those of IJV/muscle 1.65, 1.59 and 1.59. There was no significant difference between visual and quantitative assessment in any group. The results suggest that 0.75 ml/kg of contrast medium appears sufficient for vascular opacification for head and neck lesions when the CT scan can be completed in about 120 s.
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