Purpose: To investigate opacification of head and neck vasculature during computed tomography (CT) of supraclavicular lymph nodes with a quadruple-phase contrast media and saline dual-injection protocol. Materials and Methods: This retrospective study was institutional review board approved. In 180 consecutive patients, routine head and neck CT was performed with one of two protocols: protocol A, craniocaudal scan direction with 100 mL of contrast material injected intravenously as a single bolus; or protocol B, 100 mL of contrast material injected in four phases (phases 1-2, 60 mL of contrast material and saline injected at 2.5 mL/sec; phases 3-4, 40 mL of contrast material and saline injected at 2.5 mL/sec); both protocols had a fixed scan delay of 70 seconds. Attenuation of supraclavicular arteries and veins was measured with arteriovenous contrast ratio (AVCR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR). Effective dose was calculated. Data were compared with the two-sample t test. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) and visual grading characteristic analyses were performed. Results: Arterial attenuation was up to 20% higher (P <.05) after protocol B (mean ± standard deviation, 234.5 HU ± 33.2) than protocol A (160.0 HU ± 29.5). Venous system attenuation was significantly lower in protocol B (164.0 HU ± 17.0) than in protocol A (664.0 HU ± 12.0), with up to a 75% reduction (P <.0001). Protocol B generated significant (P <.0001) improvements in AVCR at multiple anatomic sites. At all anatomic levels, mean CNR with protocol B (34.4 HU ± 9.0) was significantly higher than that with protocol A (14.5 HU ± 14.0) (P <.0313). Effective dose was significantly reduced with protocol B (2.6 mSv ± 0.4 vs 3.2 mSv ± 0.8 with protocol A; P <.0041). ROC analysis demonstrated significantly higher area under the ROC curve for protocol B (P <.0022), with interreader agreement increasing from poor to excellent in lymph node visualization. Conclusion: Significant improvement in lymph node visualization at the cervicothoracic junction is achieved with a quadruplephase contrast media injection protocol.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging