Objective. The objective of our study was to characterize enhancement of muscle and bone that occurs on standardized four-phase contrast-enhanced CT. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Two musculoskeletal radiologists reviewed standardized four-phase abdominal CT scans obtained with IV contrast material. The psoas area was measured, and the mean attenuation (in Hounsfeld units) was recorded for the aorta, psoas muscles, posterior paraspinal muscles, and L4 vertebral body. CT attenuation measures were compared between anatomic regions and imaging phases with the paired t test; associations between measures were examined with the Pearson correlation coeffcient (R). RESULTS. The study included 201 patients (97 men, 104 women; mean age, 57.7 ± 12.5 [SD] years). Subject age was inversely correlated with unenhanced attenuation in the psoas muscles, posterior paraspinal muscles, and L4 (p < 0.001). The psoas muscles, posterior paraspinal muscles, and L4 enhanced signifcantly (p < 0.001) at all three contrast-enhanced phases. The greatest muscle enhancement was observed on delayed phase scans, whereas the greatest enhancement in L4 was seen on portal phase imaging. The unenhanced attenuation of the psoas muscles was signifcantly and negatively correlated with enhancement of the psoas muscles at the portal and delayed phases (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively), but these correlations were not seen for the posterior paraspinal muscles. Age was positively correlated with posterior paraspinal muscle enhancement at the portal and delayed phases in men (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively) but not in women. CONCLUSION. Contrast enhancement of commonly measured muscle and bone regions is routinely observed and should be considered when using CT attenuation values as biomarkers of sarcopenia and osteoporosis. Furthermore, CT enhancement may be signifcantly influenced by age, sex, and unenhanced tissue attenuation.
- Contrast media
- Skeletal muscle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging