Vertebral scale system to measure heart size in thoracic radiographs of west African dwarf goats

  • RO Ukaha
  • ROC Kene
  • OE Gboniko
Keywords: Radiography, Measurement, Heart, Thoracic vertebrae, Lateral views


In veterinary diagnostic radiology, determination of heart size is necessary in the assessment of patients with clinical signs of cardiac anomaly. In this study, heart sizes were compared with lengths of mid-thoracic vertebrae in 12 clinically normal West African Dwarf Goats (WADGs) (8 females, 4 males). The aim of the research was to approximate reference values for vertebral heart size (VHS) of normal caprine cardiac silhouette. Lateral thoracic radiographs were obtained and lengths of long and short axes of the heart image measured with a ruler in centimetres. The measured dimensions were scaled against the lengths of thoracic vertebral bodies dorsal to the heart starting from the fourth vertebra. Mean ±standard error of mean (M±SEM) VHS was 10.1±0.01 vertebrae. VHS differences between males and females, and right and left lateral (RtL and LeL) recumbencies were not significant. In clinical practice, VHS is easy to apply and objective in assessing cardiac sizes of patients.

KEYWORDS : Radiography, Measurement, Heart, Thoracic vertebrae, Lateral views


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eISSN: 0331-3026