Improved imaging of colorectal liver metastases using single-source fast kVp-switching dual-energy CT: preliminary results
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Submission date: 2018-11-04
Acceptance date: 2018-11-22
Publication date: 2018-12-07
Pol J Radiol, 2018; 83: 514-520
Computed tomography remains the first-choice modality for assessment of colorectal cancer liver metastases (CRLM). Dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) is a relatively new technique that is becoming increasingly available. One of the advantages of DECT is the ability to maximise iodine detection. Our aim was to test whether single-source, fast kVp-switching DECT can improve imaging quality of CRLM compared to conventional (polychromatic) CT.

Material and methods:
Twenty consecutive patients were enrolled into a preliminary prospective study. The scanning protocol consisted of four phases: non-contrast with standard 120 kV tube voltage and three post-contrast phases with rapid voltage switching. As a result, three sets of images were reconstructed: pre- and postcontrast polychromatic (PR), monochromatic (MR), and iodine concentration map (IM). To compare the sensitivity of the tested reconstructions, the number of CRLMs and the maximum diameter of the largest lesion were calculated. Objective image quality was measured as signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR). The radiation dose was expressed as CTDIvol.

Imaging was successfully performed in all patients. The number of detected lesions was significantly lower on PR images than on IM and MR 50-70 keV (mean number: 4.20 and 4.45, respectively). IM and MR at 70 keV presented the highest quality. SNR was significantly higher for IM and 70 keV images than for other reconstructions. The mean radiation dose was 14.61 mGy for non-contrast 120 kV scan and 17.89 mGy for single DECT scan (p < 0.05).

DECT is a promising tool for CRLM imaging. IM and low-photon energy MR present the highest differences in contrast between metastases and the normal liver parenchyma.

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