Purpose: To compare the efficacy and patient tolerance of iohexol and meglumine sodium diatrizoate as oral contrast agents for computed tomography (CT).
Subjects and Methods: One hundred patients were randomly assigned to drink 1000 mL of either meglumine sodium diatrizoate or iohexol 350 before their abdominopelvic CT examination. The images were evaluated independently and in a blinded fashion by 2 radiologists who scored the extent and density of bowel opacification. Attenuation value measurements were obtained in representative areas of each gastrointestinal tract segment (stomach, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, and colon) by a research technologist. Patients' tolerance of the oral contrast agent was assessed through a questionnaire administered immediately after the CT and with a follow-up phone call 2 to 3 days later.
Results: For most of the bowel, there was no statistically significant difference in the extent or degree of opacification between the 2 contrast agents. Opacification of the ileum was better with iohexol. There was no statistically significant difference between the 2 agents in adverse effects. Patients had a small but statistically significant preference for the taste of iohexol.
Conclusion: Iohexol 350 is a satisfactory oral contrast agent for abdominopelvic CT. It opacifies the gastrointestinal tract as well as meglumine sodium diatrizoate does, and patients prefer the taste of iohexol to that of diatrizoate.