University of Cincinnati (UC) radiologists have developed a new technique for capturing images of chest veins that helps diagnose venous diseases. Multi-detector computed tomography (CT) scanners are currently used to create 3D images of arteries. Veins are more difficult to accurately image. The new technique allows radiologists to compensate for the extra time it takes contrast solution to reach the veins so useful images can be produced using the CT scanner.

Rapid-imaging scanners are too fast for venous studies, so by the time the contrast reaches the patientís veins, there are too many artifacts to make any meaningful conclusions about possible disease or blood clots. The new protocol uses the same imaging equipment in a novel way that allows scientists to acquire better venous images and make better clinical decisions.

The CT technologist prepares two syringes of contrast: The first includes 140 cubic centimeters (CC) of undiluted contrast; the second contains a diluted mixture of 100 CC of contrast and 10 CC of saline solution. Both syringes are given consecutively at a rate of four CC per second, with a 60-second delay between the final injection and initiation of the CT scan. Delaying the scan provides enough time for both the arteries and the veins to be opacified, which results in crisp images.

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