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Radiographics. 2004 Mar-Apr;24(2):481-96.

Nontraumatic emergent abdominal vascular conditions: advantages of multi-detector row CT and three-dimensional imaging.

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  • 1Institute of Diagnostic Radiology, University Hospital of Zurich, Raemistrasse 100, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland.


In the past decade, great strides have been made in the development of helical computed tomography (CT) that have led to shorter scanning time and higher spatial resolution. A wide range of traumatic and nontraumatic emergent conditions may be quickly and accurately diagnosed with multi-detector row CT. Multi-detector row CT angiography is the preferred method for imaging in emergent abdominal vascular conditions because it enables the acquisition of high-spatial-resolution volumetric image data during a single breath hold. Unlike catheter angiography, multi-detector row CT angiography not only depicts the vessels but also allows assessment of perfusion in adjacent organs. To make the most effective diagnostic use of multi-detector row CT angiography and three-dimensional image postprocessing, radiologists must be familiar with the optimal CT angiographic protocols and with the typical CT findings in various emergent vascular conditions. This article describes the protocols used in 11 patients with conditions including ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, secondary aortoduodenal fistula, splanchnic segmental arterial mediolysis, and Wegener-type vasculitis with visceral involvement. All of the diagnoses in these 11 cases were made in the emergency department, and the delay between imaging and diagnosis was decreased considerably by avoiding the transfer of patients for catheter angiography.

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