Finding the optimal tube current and iterative reconstruction strength in liver imaging; two needles in one haystack

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to find the lowest possible tube current and the optimal iterative reconstruction (IR) strength in abdominal imaging.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Reconstruction software was used to insert noise, simulating the use of a lower tube current. A semi-anthropomorphic abdominal phantom (Quality Assurance in Radiology and Medicine, QSA-543, Moehrendorf, Germany) was used to validate the performance of the ReconCT software (S1 Appendix). Thirty abdominal CT scans performed with a standard protocol (120 kVref, 150 mAsref) scanned at 90 kV, with dedicated contrast media (CM) injection software were selected. There were no other in- or exclusion criteria. The software was used to insert noise as if the scans were performed with 90, 80, 70 and 60% of the full dose. Consequently, the different scans were reconstructed with filtered back projection (FBP) and IR strength 2, 3 and 4. Both objective (e.g. Hounsfield units [HU], signal to noise ratio [SNR] and contrast to noise ratio [CNR]) and subjective image quality were evaluated. In addition, lesion detection was graded by two radiologists in consensus in another 30 scans (identical scan protocol) with various liver lesions, reconstructed with IR 3, 4 and 5.

RESULTS: A tube current of 60% still led to diagnostic objective image quality (e.g. SNR and CNR) when IR strength 3 or 4 were used. IR strength 4 was preferred for lesion detection. The subjective image quality was rated highest for the scans performed at 90% with IR 4.

CONCLUSION: A tube current reduction of 10-40% is possible in case IR 4 is used, leading to the highest image quality (10%) or still diagnostic image quality (40%), shown by a pairwise comparison in the same patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0266194
Number of pages12
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • RADIATION-DOSE REDUCTION
  • COMPUTED-TOMOGRAPHY
  • HEPATOCELLULAR-CARCINOMA
  • CURRENT MODULATION
  • CONTRAST AGENT
  • ABDOMINAL CT
  • ENHANCEMENT
  • VOLTAGE

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