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.