Applications of dual energy CT in clinical practice: A pictorial essay

Indian J Radiol Imaging. Jul-Sep 2019;29(3):289-298. doi: 10.4103/ijri.IJRI_241_19. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

Abstract

In dual-energy CT (DECT), two different x-ray spectra are used to acquire two image datasets of the same region, to allow the analysis of energy-dependent changes in the attenuation of different materials. Each type of material demonstrates a relatively specific change in attenuation between images obtained with a high-energy spectrum and those obtained with a low-energy spectrum. Based on the relatively specific change in attenuation with two different energies, material composition information can be obtained to allow tissue characterization. The DECT ability of material differentiation allows bone removal in various CT angiography studies and bone marrow edema depiction, while with material optimization, metal artefacts can be significantly reduced to almost nil. DECT allows material separation to differentiate uric acid crystals from calcium to determine the composition of urinary calculi and to diagnose gout. Using the DECT ability of material decomposition, iodine maps can be generated, which are useful in the evaluation of any enhancing lesion in the body without the need to obtain a plain scan and allow perfusion maps to be created in cases of pulmonary thromboembolism.

Keywords: Dual energy CT; iodine map; material; metal artefact; uric acid.