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