Proposal of a low-dose, long-pitch, dual-source chest CT protocol on third-generation dual-source CT using a tin filter for spectral shaping at 100 kVp for CoronaVirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients: a feasibility study

Radiol Med. 2020 Apr;125(4):365-373. doi: 10.1007/s11547-020-01179-x. Epub 2020 Apr 1.


Aim: To subjectively and objectively evaluate the feasibility and diagnostic reliability of a low-dose, long-pitch dual-source chest CT protocol on third-generation dual-source CT (DSCT) with spectral shaping at 100Sn kVp for COVID-19 patients.

Materials and methods: Patients with COVID-19 and positive swab-test undergoing to a chest CT on third-generation DSCT were included. The imaging protocol included a dual-energy acquisition (HD-DECT, 90/150Sn kVp) and fast, low-dose, long-pitch CT, dual-source scan at 100Sn kVp (LDCT). Subjective (Likert Scales) and objective (signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios, SNR and CNR) analyses were performed; radiation dose and acquisition times were recorded. Nonparametric tests were used.

Results: The median radiation dose was lower for LDCT than HD-DECT (Effective dose, ED: 0.28 mSv vs. 3.28 mSv, p = 0.016). LDCT had median acquisition time of 0.62 s (vs 2.02 s, p = 0.016). SNR and CNR were significantly different in several thoracic structures between HD-DECT and LDCT, with exception of lung parenchyma. Qualitative analysis demonstrated significant reduction in motion artifacts (p = 0.031) with comparable diagnostic reliability between HD-DECT and LDCT.

Conclusions: Ultra-low-dose, dual-source, fast CT protocol provides highly diagnostic images for COVID-19 with potential for reduction in dose and motion artifacts.

Keywords: 2019-nCOV; COVID-19; Chest radiology; Dual-source CT; Low-dose CT; Spectral shaping.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*