Article Abstract

Effects of radiation dose levels and spectral iterative reconstruction levels on the accuracy of iodine quantification and virtual monochromatic CT numbers in dual-layer spectral detector CT: an iodine phantom study

Authors: Xiaomei Lu, Zaiming Lu, Jiandong Yin, Yuying Gao, Xingbiao Chen, Qiyong Guo

Abstract

Background: The purpose of this study is to investigate the accuracy of iodine quantification and virtual monochromatic CT numbers obtained with the dual-layer spectral CT (DLCT) using a phantom at different radiation dose levels and spectral iterative reconstruction (IR) levels.
Methods: An abdomen phantom with seven iodine inserts (2.0, 2.5, 5.0, 7.5, 10.0, 15.0, 20.0 mg/mL) was imaged using a DLCT scanner. Five repeated scans were performed at computed tomography dose index volume (CTDIvol) levels of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 mGy at tube voltages of 120 and 140 kVp, respectively. Spectral-based images were reconstructed using four spectral IR levels (spectral level of 0, 2, 4, 6). Iodine density images and virtual monochromatic images (VMI) at energy levels of 50, 70 and 120 keV were created. The absolute percentage bias (APB) of the measured iodine concentration and the true iodine concentration, and the measured VMI CT numbers and the theoretical VMI CT numbers were compared to determine the difference of radiation dose levels and different spectral IR levels.
Results: At CTDIvol levels of 25, 20, 15, 10 mGy, radiation dose levels had no effect on the accuracy of iodine quantitation; at CTDIvol level of 5 mGy, the accuracy of iodine quantification was the poorest, with the mean APBiodine of 4.33% (P<0.05). There was no significant difference in the accuracy of iodine quantitation between 120 and 140 kVp (P=0.648). At energy levels of 50, 70 and 120 keV, there was no significant difference in the accuracy of the VMI CT numbers among the CTDIvol levels of 25, 20 and 15 mGy. However, the accuracy of VMI CT numbers was significantly degraded at the CTDIvol levels of 10 and 5 mGy (P<0.05). At energy level of 50 keV, the accuracy of VMI CT numbers was not affected by tube voltages (kVps) used (P=0.125). At the energy levels of 70 and 120 keV, 140 kVp produced a smaller bias than 120 kVp, with the mean APBHU at 120 and 140 kVp being of 3.62% vs. 2.99% for 70 keV (P<0.01), and 11.65% vs. 9.28% for 120 keV (P<0.01), respectively. Spectral IR levels did not affect the accuracy of iodine quantification and VMI CT numbers (P=0.998, P=0.963).
Conclusions: The accuracy of iodine quantification and VMI CT numbers was only affected by very low radiation dose levels. At the clinically applied radiation dose levels of >10 mGy, the accuracy of both iodine quantification and VMI CT numbers is relatively stable and high.

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