Triple-phase abdomen and pelvis computed tomography: standard unenhanced phase can be replaced with reduced-dose scan
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Publication date: 2018-04-22
Pol J Radiol, 2018; 83: 166-170
The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that unenhanced phase does not require as high image quality as subsequent phases acquired after contrast administration in triple-phase abdomen and pelvis computed tomography (CT), and to assess if attenuation value (AV) measurements may be obtained from unenhanced images acquired with three-fold reduced radiation dose.

Material and methods:
In the standard triple-phase abdomen and pelvis CT protocol (unenhanced, late arterial, and portal venous phase) we decreased the tube current time product only in the unenhanced phase. Arterial and venous phases were performed with the standard scanner settings used in our Institution for routine abdomen and pelvis CT. We compared the AV in manually drawn circular-shaped regions of interest (ROIs) obtained from reduced-dose and standard-dose unenhanced images in 52 patients. All ROIs were set in homogeneous parts of psoas muscle, fat tissue, liver, spleen, aorta, and bladder.

There was no statistically significant difference in AV measurements for all considered areas. More noise does not alter the mean AV inside the ROIs. Radiation dose of unenhanced scans was reduced three times and the total dose length product (DLP) in the triple-phase study was decreased by 22%.

Unenhanced images performed with three-fold reduced radiation dose allows reliable AV measurements. The unenhanced phase does not require as high image quality as subsequent phases acquired after contrast administration.

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