Compared to traditional multi-scan single-energy CT (SECT), one potential advantage of single-scan multi-energy CT (MECT) proposed for simultaneous imaging of multiple contrast agents is the radiation dose reduction. This phantom study aims to rigorously evaluate whether the radiation dose can truly be reduced in a single-scan MECT protocol (MECT_1s) in biphasic liver imaging with iodine and gadolinium, and small bowel imaging with iodine and bismuth, compared to traditional two-scan SECT protocols (SECT_2s). For MECT_1s, mixed iodine/gadolinium samples were prepared corresponding to late arterial/portal-venous phase for biphasic liver imaging. Mixed iodine/bismuth samples were prepared representing the arterial/enteric enhancement for small bowel imaging. For SECT_2s, separate contrast samples were prepared to mimic separate scans in arterial/venous phase and arterial/enteric enhancement. Samples were placed in a 35 cm wide water phantom and scanned by a research whole-body photon-counting-detector-CT (PCD-CT) system ('chess' mode). MECT images were acquired with optimized kV/threshold settings for each imaging task, and SECT images were acquired at 120 kV. Total CTDIvol was matched for the two protocols. Image-based three-material decomposition was employed in MECT_1s to determine the basis material concentration values, which were converted to CT numbers at 120 kV (i.e. virtual SECT images) to compare with the SECT images directly acquired with SECT_2s. The noise difference between the SECT and the virtual SECT images was compared to evaluate the dose efficiency of MECT_1s. Compared to SECT_2s, MECT_1s was not dose efficient for both imaging tasks. The amount of noise increase is highly task dependent, with noise increased by 203%/278% and 110%/82% in virtual SECT images for iodine/gadolinium and iodine/bismuth quantifications, respectively, corresponding to dose increase by 819%/1328% and 340%/230% in MECT_1s to achieve the same image noise level. MECT with the current PCD-CT technique requires higher radiation dose than SECT to achieve the same image quality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging