Hypervascular liver tumors: low tube voltage, high tube current multidetector CT during late hepatic arterial phase for detection--initial clinical experience.
PURPOSE: To intraindividually compare a low tube voltage (80 kVp), high tube current computed tomographic (CT) technique with a standard CT protocol (140 kVp) in terms of image quality, radiation dose, and detection of malignant hypervascular liver tumors during the late hepatic arterial phase. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective single-center HIPAA-compliant study had institutional review board approval, and written informed consent was obtained. Forty-eight patients (31 men, 17 women; age range, 35-77 years) with 60 malignant hypervascular liver tumors (mean diameter, 20.1 mm +/- 16.4 [standard deviation]) were enrolled. Pathologic proof of focal lesions was obtained with histopathologic analysis for 33 nodules and imaging follow-up after a minimum of 12 months for 27 nodules. Patients underwent dual-energy 64-section multi-detector row CT. By using vendor-specific software, two imaging protocols-140 kVp and 385 mA (protocol A) and 80 kVp and 675 mA (protocol B)-were compared during the late hepatic arterial phase of contrast enhancement. Paired t tests were used to compare tumor-to-liver contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) for each lesion, mean image noise, and effective dose between the two data sets. Three readers qualitatively assessed the two data sets in a blinded and independent fashion. Lesion detection and characterization and reader confidence were recorded, as well as readers' subjective evaluations of image quality. Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney statistical analysis was performed on this assessment. RESULTS: Image noise increased from 5.7 to 11.4 HU as the tube voltage decreased from 140 to 80 kVp (P < .0001), resulting in a significantly lower image quality score (4.0 vs 3.0, respectively) with protocol B according to all readers (P < .001). At the same time, protocol B yielded significantly higher CNR (8.2 vs 6.4) and lesion conspicuity scores (4.6 vs 4.1) than protocol A, along with a lower effective dose (5.1 vs 17.5 mSv) (P < .001 for all). CONCLUSION: By substantially increasing the tumor-to-liver CNR, a low tube voltage, high tube current CT technique improves the conspicuity of malignant hypervascular liver tumors during the late hepatic arterial phase while significantly reducing patient radiation dose.
Marin, D; Nelson, RC; Samei, E; Paulson, EK; Ho, LM; Boll, DT; DeLong, DM; Yoshizumi, TT; Schindera, ST
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