Detection of pancreatic tumors, image quality, and radiation dose during the pancreatic parenchymal phase: effect of a low-tube-voltage, high-tube-current CT technique--preliminary results.
PURPOSE: To intraindividually compare a low-tube-voltage (80 kVp), high-tube-current (675 mA) computed tomographic (CT) technique with a high-tube-voltage (140 kVp) CT protocol for the detection of pancreatic tumors, image quality, and radiation dose during the pancreatic parenchymal phase. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective, single-center, HIPAA-compliant study was approved by the institutional review board, and written informed consent was obtained. Twenty-seven patients (nine men, 18 women; mean age, 64 years) with 23 solitary pancreatic tumors underwent dual-energy CT. Two imaging protocols were used: 140 kVp and 385 mA (protocol A) and 80 kVp and 675 mA (protocol B). For both protocols, the following variables were compared during the pancreatic parenchymal phase: contrast enhancement for the aorta, the pancreas, and the portal vein; pancreas-to-tumor contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR); noise; and effective dose. Two blinded, independent readers qualitatively scored the two data sets for tumor detection and image quality. Random-effect analysis of variance tests were used to compare differences between the two protocols. RESULTS: Compared with protocol A, protocol B yielded significantly higher contrast enhancement for the aorta (508.6 HU vs 221.5 HU, respectively), pancreas (151.2 HU vs 67.0 HU), and portal vein (189.7 HU vs 87.3 HU), along with a greater pancreas-to-tumor CNR (8.1 vs 5.9) (P < .001 for all comparisons). No statistically significant difference in tumor detection was observed between the two protocols. Although standard deviation of image noise increased with protocol B (11.5 HU vs 18.6 HU), this protocol significantly reduced the effective dose (from 18.5 to 5.1 mSv; P < .001). CONCLUSION: A low-tube-voltage, high-tube-current CT technique has the potential to improve the enhancement of the pancreas and peripancreatic vasculature, improve tumor conspicuity, and reduce patient radiation dose during the pancreatic parenchymal phase.
Marin, D; Nelson, RC; Barnhart, H; Schindera, ST; Ho, LM; Jaffe, TA; Yoshizumi, TT; Youngblood, R; Samei, E
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