Dual-energy CT in patients with abdominal malignant lymphoma: impact of noise-optimised virtual monoenergetic imaging on objective and subjective image quality

Clin Radiol. 2018 Sep;73(9):833.e19-833.e27. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2018.04.015. Epub 2018 Jun 5.


Aim: To investigate the impact of noise-optimised virtual monoenergetic imaging (VMI+) reconstructions on quantitative and qualitative image parameters in patients with malignant lymphoma at dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) examinations of the abdomen.

Materials and methods: Thirty-five consecutive patients (mean age, 53.8±18.6 years; range, 21-82 years) with histologically proven malignant lymphoma of the abdomen were included retrospectively. Images were post-processed with standard linear blending (M_0.6), traditional VMI, and VMI+ technique at energy levels ranging from 40 to 100 keV in 10 keV increments. Signal-to-noise (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratios (CNR) were objectively measured in lymphoma lesions. Image quality, lesion delineation, and image noise were rated subjectively by three blinded observers using five-point Likert scales.

Results: Quantitative image quality parameters peaked at 40-keV VMI+ (SNR, 15.77±7.74; CNR, 18.27±8.04) with significant differences compared to standard linearly blended M_0.6 (SNR, 7.96±3.26; CNR, 13.55±3.47) and all traditional VMI series (p<0.001). Qualitative image quality assessment revealed significantly superior ratings for image quality at 60-keV VMI+ (median, 5) in comparison with all other image series (p<0.001). Assessment of lesion delineation showed the highest rating scores for 40-keV VMI+ series (median, 5), while lowest subjective image noise was found for 100-keV VMI+ reconstructions (median, 5).

Conclusion: Low-keV VMI+ reconstructions led to improved image quality and lesion delineation of malignant lymphoma lesions compared to standard image reconstruction and traditional VMI at abdominal DECT examinations.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / diagnostic imaging*
  • Abdomen / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iopamidol / analogs & derivatives
  • Lymphoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymphoma / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Radiography, Dual-Energy Scanned Projection / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • iomeprol
  • Iopamidol