Feasibility of Dose-reduced Chest CT with Photon-counting Detectors: Initial Results in Humans.
Radiology. 2017 Dec;285(3):980-989. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2017162587. Epub 2017 Jul 28. Symons R1, Pourmorteza A1, Sandfort V1, Ahlman MA1, Cropper T1, Mallek M1, Kappler S1, Ulzheimer S1, Mahesh M1, Jones EC1, Malayeri AA1, Folio LR1, Bluemke DA1.
Purpose: To investigate whether photon-counting detector (PCD) technology can improve dose-reduced chest computed tomography (CT) image quality compared with that attained with conventional energy-integrating detector (EID) technology in vivo.
Materials and Methods: This was a HIPAA-compliant institutional review board-approved study, with informed consent from patients. Dose-reduced spiral unenhanced lung EID and PCD CT examinations were performed in 30 asymptomatic volunteers in accordance with manufacturer-recommended guidelines for CT lung cancer screening (120-kVp tube voltage, 20-mAs reference tube current-time product for both detectors). Quantitative analysis of images included measurement of mean attenuation, noise power spectrum (NPS), and lung nodule contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR). Images were qualitatively analyzed by three radiologists blinded to detector type. Reproducibility was assessed with the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). McNemar, paired t, and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to compare image quality.
Results: Thirty study subjects were evaluated (mean age, 55.0 years ± 8.7 [standard deviation]; 14 men). Of these patients, 10 had a normal body mass index (BMI) (BMI range, 18.5-24.9 kg/m2; group 1), 10 were overweight (BMI range, 25.0-29.9 kg/m2; group 2), and 10 were obese (BMI ≥30.0 kg/m2, group 3). PCD diagnostic quality was higher than EID diagnostic quality (P = .016, P = .016, and P = .013 for readers 1, 2, and 3, respectively), with significantly better NPS and image quality scores for lung, soft tissue, and bone and with fewer beam-hardening artifacts (all P < .001). Image noise was significantly lower for PCD images in all BMI groups (P < .001 for groups 1 and 3, P < .01 for group 2), with higher CNR for lung nodule detection (12.1 ± 1.7 vs 10.0 ± 1.8, P < .001). Inter- and intrareader reproducibility were good (all ICC > 0.800).
Conclusion: Initial human experience with dose-reduced PCD chest CT demonstrated lower image noise compared with conventional EID CT, with better diagnostic quality and lung nodule CNR. © RSNA, 2017 Online supplemental material is available for this article.