Submillisievert standard-pitch CT pulmonary angiography with ultra-low dose contrast media administration : A comparison to standard CT imaging
To evaluate the image quality and radiation dose of submillisievert standard-pitch CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) with ultra-low dose contrast media administration in comparison to standard CTPA.
Materials and methods
Hundred patients (56 females, 44 males, mean age 69.6±15.4 years; median BMI: 26.6, IQR: 5.9) with suspected pulmonary embolism were examined with two different protocols (n = 50 each, group A: 80 kVp, ref. mAs 115, 25 ml of contrast medium; group B: 100 kVp, ref. mAs 150, 60 ml of contrast medium) using a dual-source CT equipped with automated exposure control. Objective and subjective image qualities, radiation exposure as well as the frequency of pulmonary embolism were evaluated.
There was no significant difference in subjective image quality scores between two groups regarding pulmonary arteries (p = 0.776), whereby the interobserver agreement was excellent (group A: k = 0.9; group B k = 1.0). Objective image analysis revealed that signal intensities (SI), signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of the pulmonary arteries were equal or significantly higher in group B. There was no significant difference in the frequency of pulmonary embolism (p = 0.65). Using the low dose and low contrast media protocol resulted in a radiation dose reduction by 71.8% (2.4 vs. 0.7 mSv; p<0.001).
This 80 kVp standard pitch CTPA protocol with 25 ml contrast agent volume can obtain sufficient image quality to exclude or diagnose pulmonary emboli while reducing radiation dose by approximately 71%.