Utility of intravenously administered contrast material at CT colonography

Radiology. 2000 Dec;217(3):765-71. doi: 10.1148/radiology.217.3.r00nv42765.


Purpose: To determine if intravenously administered contrast material improves overall reader confidence in the assessment of the colon, large-bowel wall conspicuity, and diagnostic accuracy in the detection of colorectal polyps and cancers at computed tomographic (CT) colonography.

Materials and methods: Two hundred patients underwent CT colonography in both supine and prone positions. A five-point scale was used to assess the effect of contrast enhancement on overall reader confidence and bowel wall conspicuity. Eighty-one patients underwent CT colonography with complete colonoscopic or surgical correlation; diagnostic accuracy was compared in 48 patients who received contrast material and 33 who did not.

Results: Bowel preparation was ideal in 38 (19%) of 200 patients. Enhanced prone CT images had significantly better scores for reader confidence (4.9 +/- 0.1 vs 4.6 +/- 0.1, P: <.005) and bowel wall conspicuity (4.6 +/- 0.2 vs 4.2 +/- 0.2, P: <.005) compared with those of nonenhanced prone images despite no significant difference in bowel distention (3.8 +/- 0.2 vs 3.9 +/- 0. 1, P: =.8). Enhancement significantly improved the ability to depict medium (6-9-mm) polyps (75% vs 58%, P: <.05). Three large (10-19-mm) polyps were detected only with contrast enhancement; two remained submerged despite dual positioning.

Conclusion: The use of intravenously administered contrast material significantly improved reader confidence in the assessment of bowel wall conspicuity and the ability of CT colonography to depict medium polyps in suboptimally prepared colons.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Barium Sulfate / administration & dosage
  • Colon / diagnostic imaging*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnostic imaging
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Posture
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • Barium Sulfate