Computed tomographic abscessogram: a useful tool for evaluation of percutaneous abscess drainage.


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  • Author:  L Lepanto  

  • Abstract:  OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the role of computed tomographic abscessograms (CTABs, consisting of injection of contrast medium through a drainage catheter followed by computed tomographic examination) in the management of patients referred for percutaneous abscess drainage (PAD). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Over 50 months, 169 patients with 203 abscesses underwent PAD, and 432 CTABs were performed. CTAB was assessed for its ability to influence treatment decisions, detect fistulae and visualize the septic process. RESULTS: CTABs allowed the detection of fistulous communications in 32% (65/203) of abscesses. In 60 of the 65 patients with fistulae (92%), the specific etiology of the abscess cavity was established through analysis of CTABs. The presence of a pathologic fistula prolonged the catheter drainage time (20.5 v. 11.9 days, p < 0.0001), and the success rate was lower if the drainage catheter was removed before the fistula was closed (90% v. 72%). CTAB images influenced catheter-manipulatio n decisions for 23 of the 169 patients (14%). CONCLUSION: CTABs provide important information about the underlying pathologic process while allowing detection of fistulae and ultimately influencing interventional treatment for PAD.

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