Nonlinear three-dimensional noise filter with low-dose CT angiography: effect on the detection of small high-contrast objects in a phantom model

Radiology. 2011 Jan;258(1):261-9. doi: 10.1148/radiol.10100760. Epub 2010 Nov 9.


Purpose: To study the effect of a nonlinear noise filter on the detection of simulated endoleaks in a phantom with 80- and 100-kVp multidetector computed tomographic (CT) angiography.

Materials and methods: An aortic aneurysm phantom, including iodinated endoleaks, was constructed. Multidetector CT angiography with use of 80-, 100-, and 120-kVp tube voltages was performed for simulated intermediate-sized and large patients (estimated body weights, 72-85 kg and 118-142 kg, respectively). Images obtained with 80 and 100 kVp were postprocessed by using a nonlinear noise filter. CT images containing 1152 endoleaks and images with no endoleaks were randomized and independently analyzed by three radiologists blinded to the location of the endoleaks. Diagnostic confidence and image quality were rated by using subjective scales. Analysis of variance was used for statistical assessment.

Results: In simulated intermediate-sized patients, energy reduction from 120 to 100 kVp and from100 to 80 kVp did not decrease image quality when images with reduced kilovoltage were filtered (P = .2692 and P > .99, respectively). Readers detected more endoleaks on the filtered 100-kVp images than on the nonfiltered images in simulated large patients (83 vs 75 lesions, P = .041). The number of detected endoleaks and the confidence rate were similar at 100 kVp with a filter and at 120 kVp in simulated large patients (P = .339 and P = .211, respectively).

Conclusion: In a phantom, the nonlinear noise filter can prevent decreased image quality with use of 80- and 100-kVp abdominal multidetector CT angiography at a wide range of simulated body weights and may facilitate a better detection rate of endoleaks in heavy patients.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Angiography / instrumentation*
  • Aortic Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Endoleak / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / instrumentation*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / instrumentation*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / instrumentation*