Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Radiography: abdomen

Contributor(s): Patsy Whelehan

Introduction

  • A large amount of information can be obtained from a plain abdominal radiograph if it is produced to a high standard and interpretation skills are high.
  • Plain abdominal radiography may need to be supplemented by contrast studies where further information is required about the gastro-intestinal tract, urinary tract or reproductive tract.
  • Ultrasonography is often a valuable supplementary procedure.
  • Image contrast must be maximized as the inherent subject contrast is low, particularly in thinner patients.
    • Relatively low kV values.
    • Some films have higher inherent contrast than others.
  • Breathing blur may occasionally be a problem, particularly when using lower output X-ray machines, but as the film is exposed on expiration, blur is less likely than in thoracic radiography.
    Exposure on expiration facilitates better demonstration of abdominal contents, in addition to minimizing risk of breathing movement blur.
  • Close collimation of the primary beam should be practised at all times.
  • The objective is to produce a radiograph which includes the whole area of interest, is correctly exposed and developed, and is free from movement blur and artifacts.
  • The film should be clearly marked with the anatomical marker, the patient's identification, the date and the name of the hospital or practice.

Uses

  • Assessing size and shape of abdominal organs.
  • Detection of gastro-intestinal obstruction (gas patterns).
  • Demonstration of radio-opaque or linear gastro-intestinal foreign bodies Intestine: foreign body - linear.
  • Detection of peritonitis Peritonitis  or free abdominal fluid Abdomen: ascites - radiograph lateral .
  • Detection of pregnancy Uterus: normal pregnancy (near term) - radiography .
  • Detection of radio-opaque urinary calculi Urolithiasis   Bladder: calculi - cystogram   Bladder: stones - negative contrast   Bladder: stones - plain lateral radiograph   Bladder: stones - plain VD radiograph .

Advantages

  • Non-invasive.
  • Relatively simple procedure.

Disadvantages

  • Supplementary procedures eg ultrasonography or contrast studies are frequently required.
  • Shortcomings in technique make interpretation particularly difficult eg low contrast image may mimic pathology.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Shiroma J T, Gabriel J K, Carter R L et al (1999) Effect of reproductive state on feline renal size. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 40 (3), 242-245 PubMed.
  • Miles K (1997) Imaging abdominal masses. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 27 (6), 1403-1431 PubMed.
  • Fucci V, Pechman R D, Hedlund C S et al (1995) Large bowel transit times using radiopaque markers in normal cats. JAAHA 31 (6), 473-477 PubMed.
  • Wolvekamp W T (1994) Basic principles of abdominal radiography. Vet Q 16 (Suppl 1), 40S-42S PubMed.
  • Tiemessen I, Wolvekamp W T (1991) Diagnostic imaging in small animals - ultrasonographic and radiographic examination of thorax and abdomen - a comparison. Tijdschr Diergeneeskd 116 (Suppl 1), 54S-55S PubMed.


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