Computed tomography characteristics of canine tracheobronchial lymph node metastasis

Ballegeer EA, Adams WM, Dubielzig RR, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2010;51:397-403.

Tracheobronchial lymph node evaluation is critical for accurate staging of canine thoracic neoplasia and is more accurately achieved with computed tomography (CT) than radiography. Thoracic CT scans of 18 canine patients with known tracheobronchial lymph node histopathology and 10 clinically normal dogs were compared to establish if enlargement or contrast enhancement pattern correlated with metastatic status. Absolute lymph node size and three anatomically normalized lymph node ratios were significantly correlated with metastasis or severe granulomatous lymphadenitis (P < 0.0003). Transverse maximum lymph node diameter of 12 mm or lymph node to thoracic body ratio of 1.05 are proposed cutoffs, above which metastatic involvement is very likely; however, only minimal accuracy was gained with normalized ratios. Lymph node contrast enhancement pattern was also significantly correlated to disease. A heterogenous and/or ring pattern was related to metastatic disease (P = 0.03). Recommended protocol for CT examination of the tracheobronchial lymph nodes is 1-1.5 mm slices and intervals, intravenous contrast, and control of respiratory motion.