The effect of dexmedetomidine on the cardiac silhouette of cats

5 April 2017 – News


Dexmedetomidine, an alpha2 -adrenergic agonist, may be used in companion animals for chemical restraint, including cardiac evaluation. A recent study describes the effects of dexmedetomidine on the cardiac silhouette in healthy, adult cats.

Fourteen cats received dexmedetomidine 40 mcg/kg IM. Right lateral (RL), left lateral (LL), ventrodorsal (VD), and dorsoventral (DV) thoracic radiographs were obtained for each cat at three time points: presedation, intrasedation, and postsedation (≥ two hours after reversal with atipamezole).

Radiographs were evaluated using the vertebral heart score on all four views, the number of intercostal spaces on lateral projections, and the percent width of thorax on VD and DV projections. Median vertebral heart score on RL view and median percentage width was significantly increased intrasedation compared to presedation (on both projections).

Dexmedetomidine was associated with a small but significant increase in cardiac silhouette size on RL (vertebral heart score), VD (percentage width), and DV (percentage width) radiographs in cats. This effect should be taken into consideration for future interpretation of thoracic radiographs in dexmedetomidine-sedated cats.

In Zwicker, L. A., Matthews, A. R., Côté, E. and Andersen, E. (2016), THE EFFECT OF DEXMEDETOMIDINE ON RADIOGRAPHIC CARDIAC SILHOUETTE SIZE IN HEALTHY CATS. Vet Radiol Ultrasound