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Thoracic radiography in the cat: identification of cardiomegaly and congestive heart failure

Guglielmini, Carlo, Diana, Alessia
Journal of veterinary cardiology 2015 v.17 pp. S87
cats, diagnostic techniques, echocardiography, edema, heart failure, radiography
Thoracic radiography is one of the most commonly employed diagnostic tools for the clinical evaluation of cats with suspected heart disease and is the standard diagnostic method in the confirmation of cardiogenic pulmonary edema. In the past, interpretation of feline radiographs focused on a description of the qualitative radiographic features of feline heart disease or the measurement of the cardiac silhouette in healthy cats and cats with different cardiovascular disorders. More recently, studies have begun to critically address the issue of the diagnostic accuracy of thoracic radiography in the diagnostic work-up of cats with heart disease. In these studies, qualitative and quantitative radiographic parameters were compared to echocardiographic findings to evaluate the usefulness of thoracic radiography for the identification of cardiac enlargement and pulmonary edema in the cat. Thoracic radiography is reasonably specific but has a low sensitivity when identifying cardiomegaly in cats with mild structural heart disease. Feline cardiogenic pulmonary edema has a variable radiographic presentation and several specific radiographic findings (i.e., enlargement of the left atrium and the pulmonary veins) can be absent or non-recognizable in affected cats.