Objective: To evaluate low-tube-voltage 90-kVp CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) with advanced modeled iterative reconstruction algorithm (Admire) compared to 120-kVp equivalent dual-energy (DE) acquisition with regards to radiation exposure, image quality and diagnostic accuracy for pulmonary embolism (PE) assessment.
Methods: CTPA studies of 40 patients with suspected PE (56.7 ± 16.3 years) performed on a third-generation 192-slice dual-source CT scanner were retrospectively included. 120-kVp equivalent linearly-blended (60% 90-kVp, 40% 150-kVp) and 90-kVp images were reconstructed. Attenuation and noise of the pulmonary trunk were measured to calculate contrast-to-noise ratios (CNR). Three radiologists assessed the presence of central and segmental PE and diagnostic confidence. Interobserver agreement was calculated using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Radiation exposure was assessed as effective dose (ED).
Results: Pulmonary trunk CNR values were significantly increased in 90-kVp compared to linearly-blended series (15.4 ± 6.3 vs 11.3 ± 4.6, p < 0.001). Diagnostic accuracy for PE assessment was similar in both series with excellent interobserver agreement (p = 0.48; ICC, 0.83; p = 0.48). Overall confidence for PE assessment was rated excellent for both series with a significant advantage for linearly-blended series (p < 0.001; 4.1 vs 3.8). ED was reduced by 37.2% with 90-kVp compared to 120-kVp equivalent image series (1.1 ± 0.6 vs 1.7 ± 0.7 mSv, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: 90-kVp CTPA with Admire provided increased quantitative image quality with similar diagnostic accuracy and confidence for PE assessment compared to 120-kVp equivalent acquisition, while radiation dose was reduced by 37.2%. Advances in knowledge: 90-kVp CTPA with an advanced iterative reconstruction algorithm results in excellent image quality and reduction of radiation exposure without limiting diagnostic performance.