News | November 10, 2010

Taste Test Shows Patient Preferences for Oral Contrast Agents

November 10, 2010 — Results from the first head-to-head taste test of oral contrast agents indicate a significantly greater preference for diluted iohexol (Omnipaque) than for diluted diatrizoate sodium (Gastroview) among patients undergoing abdominal-pelvic computed tomography (CT) scanning. The study results, which appear in the November 2010 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) may have important implications for improving the patient imaging experience and enhancing compliance with oral contrast media consumption, according to the investigators.

Michelle M. McNamara, MD, diagnostic radiologist and assistant professor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and lead author of the AJR paper, and her colleagues conducted a prospective, double-blinded study in which 300 adult patients undergoing routine abdominal-pelvic CT were randomized to receive either iohexol (n=149) or diatrizoate sodium (n=151). Patients graded the taste of the contrast agents using a five-point Likert scale (-2: dislike very much; -1: dislike moderately; 0: neither like nor dislike; +1: like moderately; +2: like very much). As a secondary objective, CT images were graded for bowel opacification by two blinded abdominal radiologists. Investigators also gathered data on side effects.

A total of 233 patients (81%) preferred iohexol, compared to 54 patients (19%) who preferred diatrizoate sodium (p

“Receiving an oral contrast agent is often the least pleasant part of the radiology experience for a patient,” said Dr. McNamara. “Patients often complain of an unpleasant taste, and many experience gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and vomiting. This may result in decreased satisfaction with the procedure and poor compliance with oral contrast dosing.”

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