High-Pitch, Low-Voltage and Low-Iodine-Concentration CT Angiography of Aorta: Assessment of Image Quality and Radiation Dose with Iterative Reconstruction
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Objective: To assess the image quality of aorta obtained by dual-source computed tomography angiography (DSCTA), performed with high pitch, low tube voltage, and low iodine concentration contrast medium (CM) with images reconstructed using iterative reconstruction (IR). Methods: One hundred patients randomly allocated to receive one of two types of CM underwent DSCTA with the electrocardiogram-triggered Flash protocol. In the low-iodine group, 50 patients received CM containing 270 mg I/mL and were scanned at low tube voltage (100 kVp). In the high-iodine CM group, 50 patients received CM containing 370 mg I/mL and were scanned at the tube voltage (120 kVp). The filtered back projection (FBP) algorithm was used for reconstruction in both groups. In addition, the IR algorithm was used in the low-iodine group. Image quality of the aorta was analyzed subjectively by a 3-point grading scale and objectively by measuring the CT attenuation in terms of the signal- and contrast-to-noise ratios (SNR and CNR, respectively). Radiation and CM doses were compared.Results: The CT attenuation, subjective image quality assessment, SNR, and CNR of various aortic regions of interest did not differ significantly between two groups. In the low-iodine group, images reconstructed by FBP and IR demonstrated significant differences in image noise, SNR, and CNR (p<0.05). The low-iodine group resulted in 34.3% less radiation (4.4 ± 0.5 mSv) than the high-iodine group (6.7 ± 0.6 mSv), and 27.3% less iodine weight (20.36 ± 2.65 g) than the high-iodine group (28 ± 1.98 g). Observers exhibited excellent agreement on the aortic image quality scores (κ = 0.904). Conclusions: CT images of aorta could be obtained within 2 s by using a DSCT Flash protocol with low tube voltage, IR, and low-iodine-concentration CM. Appropriate contrast enhancement was achieved while maintaining good image quality and decreasing the radiation and iodine doses.
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