Background: Iterative reconstruction methods have attracted attention for reducing radiation doses in computed tomography (CT).
Purpose: To investigate the detectability of pancreatic calcification using dose-reduced CT reconstructed with model-based iterative construction (MBIR) and adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR).
Material and methods: This prospective study approved by Institutional Review Board included 85 patients (57 men, 28 women; mean age, 69.9 years; mean body weight, 61.2 kg). Unenhanced CT was performed three times with different radiation doses (reference-dose CT [RDCT], low-dose CT [LDCT], ultralow-dose CT [ULDCT]). From RDCT, LDCT, and ULDCT, images were reconstructed with filtered-back projection (R-FBP, used for establishing reference standard), ASIR (L-ASIR), and MBIR and ASIR (UL-MBIR and UL-ASIR), respectively. A lesion (pancreatic calcification) detection test was performed by two blinded radiologists with a five-point certainty level scale.
Results: Dose-length products of RDCT, LDCT, and ULDCT were 410, 97, and 36 mGy-cm, respectively. Nine patients had pancreatic calcification. The sensitivity for detecting pancreatic calcification with UL-MBIR was high (0.67-0.89) compared to L-ASIR or UL-ASIR (0.11-0.44), and a significant difference was seen between UL-MBIR and UL-ASIR for one reader (P = 0.014). The area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve for UL-MBIR (0.818-0.860) was comparable to that for L-ASIR (0.696-0.844). The specificity was lower with UL-MBIR (0.79-0.92) than with L-ASIR or UL-ASIR (0.96-0.99), and a significant difference was seen for one reader (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: In UL-MBIR, pancreatic calcification can be detected with high sensitivity, however, we should pay attention to the slightly lower specificity.
Keywords: Abdomen/GI; adults; calcifications/calculi; computed tomography (CT); observer performance; pancreas.