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Everything you need to know about Computed Tomography (CT) & CT Scanning

IV Contrast

question1. Why do we use IV contrast material?
question2. Do you use serum creatinine levels or GFR in your practice for establishing risk prior to CT scanning?
question3. What is GFR and why is it a more accurate measure than simply getting a creatinine level?
question4. Why are GFR numbers different for Caucasians and African Americans?
question5. Are all CT scans with IV contrast done the same way?
question6. What type of IV contrast material do we use and why?
question7. At what temperature do we store IV contrast material?
question8. Why do you warm IV contrast?
question9. What is the advantage of Visipaque as written in the literature?
question10. When do you use Visipaque-320 and when Omnipaque-350?
question11. Does the concentration of contrast mean that higher concentrations are better (AKA-isn’t a higher number better)?
question12. What is the volume of IV contrast material we use?
question13. What patients are considered high risk patients for IV contrast for CIN?
question14. Do we have set cutoffs for creatinine levels and if so what are they?
question15. Can we pretreat patients who have borderline renal function? If yes then how?
question16. Should patients be NPO for CT scanning? If yes for how long?
question17. What are the common volumes of contrast used for IV injection?
question18. What kind of IV access is ideal for use for IV contrast injection?
question19. Has there been any new developments in technology that may help us high injection rates in patients who can not tolerate an 18g needle (or at times even a 20g)?
question20. Can any IV the patient has in place be used to inject the contrast material?
question21. Can we use a central line or a PICC line for injection?
question22. What about the new “purple PICC/central lines” I hear about?
question23. What are some of the common normal “side effects” of IV contrast agents?
24. Is there a relationship between patients receiving chemotherapy and CIN?

J. Singh and A Daftary in the J Nucl Med Technol 2008;36:69-74 list a number of factors that increase the risk for CIN and chemotherapy is one of them.

Here is the full list from the article; Advanced age, antibiotics (aminoglycosides such as gentamycin), cardiovascular disease, chemotherapy, collagen vascular diseases, elevated serum creatinine levels (variable levels, 1.3–2.0 mg/dL), dehydration, diabetes (insulin-dependent > 2 y; non–insulin-dependent > 5 y), nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications, paraproteinemias (myeloma), renal disease, kidney transplant.

The key to chemotherapy is that some agents are nephrotoxic and so the IV contrast and the chemotherapy could be a “double whammy” to the patients renal function. Lameire et al reported in the Annals of Medicine 2005, 37; 13-25 on this topic and concluded that “ Acute renal failure (ARF) is defined as a sudden decrease in glomerular filtration rate leading to an acute rise in blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine levels. It is a serious complication of cancer and constitutes a major source of morbidity and mortality.

Current data suggest that ARF has the potential to substantially jeopardize the chances of cancer patients receiving optimal treatment and a potential cure. The pathways leading to ARF in cancer patients are common to the development of ARF in other conditions. However, ARF may also develop due to aetiologies arising from cancer treatment or the disease itself, including: nephrotoxic chemotherapy agents, post-renal obstruction, compression and infiltration by malignancy, tumour lysis syndrome, uric acid, sepsis and contrast agent nephropathy. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the causes of ARF in patients with cancer and guidance on how to prevent and treat this condition. Ultimately, the key to managing ARF in cancer patients is to ensure that a multidisciplinary approach provides adequate assessment, appropriate preventative measures and early intervention. “

question25. Is it ok for patients to have both an MR and a CT with contrast on the same day?
question26. Have you ever seen a patient develop diffuse erythema distal to the IV injection site in the absence of extravasation?
question27. Patients often report a metallic taste in their mouth following use of IV iodinated contrast. Is there an explanation?
question28. Are there any contrast volume limitations for the use of IV contrast?
question29. Can you tell me a bit more about GFR and what it really means?


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