Measurement of Heart Size in Cats

Ghadiri, A., R. Avizeh, et al. (2008). “Radiographic measurement of vertebral heart size in healthy stray cats.” J Feline Med Surg 10(1): 61-5.

Determination of heart size on chest radiographs is important when evaluating cats for cardiac disease. An enlarged cardiac silhouette is an indicator of cardiac disease. However, determination of cardiac size is usually subjective. In recent years, a cardiac measurement technique called the vertebral heart size or score (VHS) has been investigated as a less biased assessment of cardiac size. VHS compares cardiac dimensions with the length of mid-thoracic vertebrae. It has previously been evaluated in mixed groups of obese and non-obese cats of various ages, breeds, and sizes. Different breeds of dogs may have different normal reference values for VHS but it is not known if there is variability in normal reference values for different populations of cats. The objective of this study was to determine VHS in clinically normal, domestic shorthair, non-obese stray cats. The study was performed in Ahvaz, Iran. Left and right lateral, dorsoventral and ventrodorsal radiographs were taken and evaluated. Absolute measurements and vertebral heart scale values were slightly smaller than those previously reported in the literature, indicating that normal reference values may vary by breed or population in cats.
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Related articles:
Litster, A. and J. Buchanan (2000). “Vertebral scale system to measure heart size in radiographs of cats.” J Amer Vet Med Assoc 216(2): 210-214.
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