Objective The aim of this study was to compare the contrast enhancement differences between gadolinium-based and iodine-based contrast agents at different single-energy tube potentials and dual-energy-based virtual monochromatic energies. In addition, we describe the application of a gadolinium-based contrast agent in computed tomography (CT) cystography for a patient with contraindications to iodine. Methods A phantom study was performed using 3 iodine samples (concentrations: 5, 10, and 15 mgI/mL) and 3 gadolinium samples (concentrations: 3.3, 6.6, and 9.9 mgGd/mL). The prepared phantom was scanned by a dual-energy CT (DECT) at 80, 100, 120, and 140 kV in the single-energy mode and at 100/Sn140 kV in the dual-energy mode. Virtual monoenergetic images (VMIs) at 50 keV were generated from the DECT scan. In addition, a DECT cystogram was performed using a gadolinium-based contrast agent in a patient with contraindications to iodinated contrast. Results Strong linear correlations between mean signal of contrast enhancement and mass concentration were found for both iodine and gadolinium samples across all single-energy CT (SECT) and DECT scan conditions. The VMI at 50 keV provided the highest contrast enhancement for both types of contrast samples at each concentration level, and single-energy CT scans at low-energy beams showed higher contrast enhancement than higher beam energies. In addition, the contrast enhancement for pure gadolinium solution was constantly higher than pure iodine solution at an identical mass concentration level. The DECT cystogram was performed with excellent technical success. The urinary bladder was appropriately distended with intravesical contrast measuring 606 Hounsfield units and no evidence of bladder leak or fistula. Conclusions Imaging of gadolinium-based contrast agents is improved using a DECT technique, with VMI at 50 keV providing the highest contrast enhancement among our tested parameters. Dual-energy CT cystography using a gadolinium-based agent can be a safe and effective alternative when iodinated agents are contraindicated.
- dual-energy CT
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging