Normal enhancement of the small bowel: Evaluation with spiral CT

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Purpose: The purpose of this work was to determine normal contrast enhancement of the small bowel with biphasic spiral CT, using water as oral contrast agent. Method: Biphasic spiral CT was performed in 50 healthy patients undergoing evaluation as potential renal donors. All patients received 500 ml of water as oral contrast agent and 150 ml of Omnipaque 350 administered by mechanical injector at a rate of 3 ml/s. Dual phase CT of the abdomen was performed in each patient. Acquisition of early phase images began 30 s after the start of the intravenous injection, and portal phase images were obtained 60 s after initiation of the contrast agent injection. Attenuation measurements (in Hounsfield units) were obtained from the wall of the small bowel (duodenum, jejunum, ileum) in both the arterial and the portal phases. Results: During the arterial phase, the mean (95% confidence interval) attenuation of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum was 120 (± 5), 119 (± 5), and 118 (± 5) HU, respectively. During the portal phase, the average attenuation of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum was 111 (± 4), 111 (± 3), and 107 (± 3) HU, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between the attenuation of the duodenum, jejunum, or ileum within either the arterial or the portal venous phases. There was a statistically significant difference in small bowel enhancement between the arterial and portal venous phases. Conclusion: There is no important variation in small bowel attenuation during the 30 and 60 s scanning phases. This study serves as a normal reference that may be helpful when spiral CT is used to evaluate ischemic bowel or inflammatory small bowel diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-71
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of computer assisted tomography
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Bowel, diseases
  • Bowel, small
  • Computed tomography, spiral (spiral CT)
  • Contrast media
  • Gastrointestinal tract, anatomy
  • Gastrointestinal tract, diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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