The purpose of this study is to evaluate a direct measure of calcium burden by using dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) during contrast-enhanced coronary imaging, potentially eliminating the need for an extra noncontrast X-ray acquisition. The ambiguity of separation of calcium from contrast material on contrast-enhanced images was solved by using virtual noncontrast images obtained by DECT. A new threshold CT number was required to detect the calcium carrying potential risk for adverse coronary events on virtual noncontrast images. Two methods were investigated to determine the 130 HU threshold for DECT scoring. An in vitro anthropomorphic phantom with 29 excised patient calcium plaques inserted was used for both a linear and a logistic regression analysis. An IRB approved in vivo prospective study of six patients was also performed to be used for logistic regression analysis. The threshold found by logistic regression model to define the calcium burden on virtual noncontrast images detects the calcium carrying potential risk for adverse coronary events correctly (2.45% error rate). DECT calcium mass and volume scores obtained by using the threshold correlates with both conventional Agatston and volume scores (r = 0.98, p < 0.001). A conventional CT cardiac exam requires two scans, including a noncontrast scan for calcium quantification and a contrast-enhanced scan for coronary angiography. With the ability to quantify calcium on DECT contrast-enhanced images, a DECT cardiac exam could be accomplished with one contrast-enhanced scan for both calcium quantification and coronary angiography.
- Computed tomography
- Dual energy
- Volume score
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging