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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 1999 Mar;10(3):309-18.

Diagnosis of pulmonary embolism: comparison of CT angiography and MR angiography in canines.

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Department of Radiology, The University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0326, USA.



To compare the sensitivity and specificity of helical computed tomographic angiography (CTA), CTA with multiplanar reconstructions (MPR)/three-dimensional-shaded surface display (3D-SSD), and gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) for pulmonary embolism (PE) detection.


Gelatin sponge emboli were introduced into the femoral veins of seven dogs and conventional digital subtraction angiography (CA), CTA, and MRA performed. Images from CTA, CTA with MPR/3D-SSD, and MRA were reviewed for the presence of PE in lobar and segmental arteries, and subsegmental zones. Postmortem angiography and CA were the gold standard.


There were 50 emboli in the 294 vessels/zones analyzed. The sensitivity of CTA for the two readers was 76% (95% confidence interval [CI]; 64%-88%) and 64% (95% CI; 50%-78%), and for the two MRA readers was 52% (95% CI; 38%-66%) and 48% (95% CI; 34%-62%). CTA was more sensitive than MRA when PE were subdivided by vessel caliber. Specificity was high for CTA and MRA among all readers (98.8%-99.6%). MPR/3D-SSD did not improve results of axial CT. MRA perfusion defects were 46% and 47% sensitive and 100% specific. Interobserver agreement was high for CTA and MRA (kappa 0.92 and 0.93, respectively). The average diameter of vessels with emboli was 3.7 mm +/- 1.06.


Helical CTA is more sensitive than three-dimensional gadolinium-enhanced MRA for the detection of PE. Both CTA and MRA are highly specific for PE detection and demonstrate high interobserver agreement. MPR/3D-SSD did not increase CTA performance over axial images alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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