Impact of iodine concentration and scan parameters on image quality, contrast enhancement and radiation dose in thoracic CT
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSolbak, Henning, England, Martinsen, Aaløkken, Johansen. Impact of iodine concentration and scan parameters on image quality, contrast enhancement and radiation dose in thoracic CT. European Radiology Experimental. 2020;4:57:1-8 https://doi.org/10.1186/s41747-020-00184-z
Background: We investigated the impact of varying contrast medium (CM) densities and x-ray tube potentials on contrast enhancement (CE), image quality and radiation dose in thoracic computed tomography (CT) using two different scanning techniques. Methods: Seven plastic tubes containing seven different CM densities ranging from of 0 to 600 HU were positioned inside a commercial chest phantom with padding, representing three different patient sizes. Helical scans of the phantom in single-source mode were obtained with varying tube potentials from 70 to 140 kVp. A constant volume CT dose index (CTDIvol) depending on phantom size and automatic dose modulation was tested. CE (HU) and image quality (contrast-to-noise ratio, CNR) were measured for all combinations of CM density and tube potential. A reference threshold of CE and kVp was defined as ≥ 200 HU and 120 kVp. Results: For the medium-sized phantom, with a specific CE of 100–600 HU, the diagnostic CE (200 HU) at 70 kVp was ~ 90% higher than at 120 kVp, for both scan techniques (p < 0.001). Changes in CM density/specific HU together with lower kVp resulted in significantly higher CE and CNR (p < 0.001). When changing only the kVp, no statistically significant differences were observed in CE or CNR (p ≥ 0.094), using both dose modulation and constant CTDIvol. Conclusions: For thoracic CT, diagnostic CE (≥ 200 HU) and maintained CNR were achieved by using lower CM density in combination with lower tube potential (< 120 kVp), independently of phantom size.