Dual-energy multidetector CT: how does it work, what can it tell us, and when can we use it in abdominopelvic imaging?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Dual-energy CT provides information about how substances behave at different energies, the ability to generate virtual unenhanced datasets, and improved detection of iodine-containing substances on low-energy images. Knowing how a substance behaves at two different energies can provide information about tissue composition beyond that obtainable with single-energy techniques. The term K edge refers to the spike in attenuation that occurs at energy levels just greater than that of the K-shell binding because of the increased photoelectric absorption at these energy levels. K-edge values vary for each element, and they increase as the atomic number increases. The energy dependence of the photoelectric effect and the variability of K edges form the basis of dual-energy techniques, which may be used to detect substances such as iodine, calcium, and uric acid crystals. The closer the energy level used in imaging is to the K edge of a substance such as iodine, the more the substance attenuates. In the abdomen and pelvis, dual-energy CT may be used in the liver to increase conspicuity of hypervascular lesions; in the kidneys, to distinguish hyperattenuating cysts from enhancing renal masses and to characterize renal stone composition; in the adrenal glands, to characterize adrenal nodules; and in the pancreas, to differentiate between normal and abnormal parenchyma.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Coursey, CA; Nelson, RC; Boll, DT; Paulson, EK; Ho, LM; Neville, AM; Marin, D; Gupta, RT; Schindera, ST

Published Date

  • July 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1037 - 1055

PubMed ID

  • 20631367

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1527-1323

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1148/rg.304095175


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States