Background Quantitative imaging techniques, such as virtual monochromatic imaging (VMI) and iodine quantification (IQ), have proven valuable diagnostic methods in several specific clinical tasks such as tumor and tissue differentiation. Recently, a new generation of computed tomography (CT) scanners equipped with photon-counting detectors (PCD) has reached clinical status. Purpose This work aimed to investigate the performance of a new photon-counting CT (PC-CT) in low-dose quantitative imaging tasks, comparing it to an earlier generation CT scanner with an energy-integrating detector dual-energy CT (DE-CT). The accuracy and precision of the quantification across size, dose, material types (including low and high iodine concentrations), displacement from iso-center, and solvent (tissue background) composition were explored. Methods Quantitative analysis was performed on two clinical scanners, Siemens SOMATOM Force and NAEOTOM Alpha using a multi-energy phantom with plastic inserts mimicking different iodine concentrations and tissue types. The tube configurations in the dual-energy scanner were 80/150Sn kVp and 100/150Sn kVp, while for PC-CT both tube voltages were set to either 120 or 140 kVp with photon-counting energy thresholds set at 20/65 or 20/70 keV. The statistical significance of patient-related parameters in quantitative measurements was examined using ANOVA and pairwise comparison with the posthoc Tukey honest significance test. Scanner bias was assessed in both quantitative tasks for relevant patient-specific parameters. Results The accuracy of IQ and VMI in the PC-CT was comparable between standard and low radiation doses (p < 0.01). The patient size and tissue type significantly affect the accuracy of both quantitative imaging tasks in both scanners. The PC-CT scanner outperforms the DE-CT scanner in the IQ task in all cases. Iodine quantification bias in the PC-CT (−0.9 ± 0.15 mg/mL) at low doses in our study was comparable to that of DE-CT (range -2.6 to 1.5 mg/mL, published elsewhere) at a 1.7× higher dose, but the dose reduction severely biased DE-CT (4.72 ± 0.22 mg/mL). The accuracy in Hounsfield units (HU) estimation was comparable for 70 and 100 keV virtual imaging between scanners, but PC-CT was significantly underestimating virtual 40 keV HU values of dense materials in the phantom representing the extremely obese population. Conclusions The statistical analysis of our measurements reveals better IQ at lower radiation doses using new PC-CT. Although VMI performance was mostly comparable between the scanners, the DE-CT scanner quantitatively outperformed PC-CT when estimating HU values in the specific case of very large phantoms and dense materials, benefiting from increased X-ray tube potentials.

Quantitative performance of photon‐counting CT at low dose: Virtual monochromatic imaging and iodine quantification

Vrbaski, Stevan
;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Background Quantitative imaging techniques, such as virtual monochromatic imaging (VMI) and iodine quantification (IQ), have proven valuable diagnostic methods in several specific clinical tasks such as tumor and tissue differentiation. Recently, a new generation of computed tomography (CT) scanners equipped with photon-counting detectors (PCD) has reached clinical status. Purpose This work aimed to investigate the performance of a new photon-counting CT (PC-CT) in low-dose quantitative imaging tasks, comparing it to an earlier generation CT scanner with an energy-integrating detector dual-energy CT (DE-CT). The accuracy and precision of the quantification across size, dose, material types (including low and high iodine concentrations), displacement from iso-center, and solvent (tissue background) composition were explored. Methods Quantitative analysis was performed on two clinical scanners, Siemens SOMATOM Force and NAEOTOM Alpha using a multi-energy phantom with plastic inserts mimicking different iodine concentrations and tissue types. The tube configurations in the dual-energy scanner were 80/150Sn kVp and 100/150Sn kVp, while for PC-CT both tube voltages were set to either 120 or 140 kVp with photon-counting energy thresholds set at 20/65 or 20/70 keV. The statistical significance of patient-related parameters in quantitative measurements was examined using ANOVA and pairwise comparison with the posthoc Tukey honest significance test. Scanner bias was assessed in both quantitative tasks for relevant patient-specific parameters. Results The accuracy of IQ and VMI in the PC-CT was comparable between standard and low radiation doses (p < 0.01). The patient size and tissue type significantly affect the accuracy of both quantitative imaging tasks in both scanners. The PC-CT scanner outperforms the DE-CT scanner in the IQ task in all cases. Iodine quantification bias in the PC-CT (−0.9 ± 0.15 mg/mL) at low doses in our study was comparable to that of DE-CT (range -2.6 to 1.5 mg/mL, published elsewhere) at a 1.7× higher dose, but the dose reduction severely biased DE-CT (4.72 ± 0.22 mg/mL). The accuracy in Hounsfield units (HU) estimation was comparable for 70 and 100 keV virtual imaging between scanners, but PC-CT was significantly underestimating virtual 40 keV HU values of dense materials in the phantom representing the extremely obese population. Conclusions The statistical analysis of our measurements reveals better IQ at lower radiation doses using new PC-CT. Although VMI performance was mostly comparable between the scanners, the DE-CT scanner quantitatively outperformed PC-CT when estimating HU values in the specific case of very large phantoms and dense materials, benefiting from increased X-ray tube potentials.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3058058
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