In dual-source dual-energy CT, the images reconstructed from the low- and high-energy scans (typically at 80 and 140 kV, respectively) can be mixed together to provide a single set of non-material-specific images for the purpose of routine diagnostic interpretation. Different from the material-specific information that may be obtained from the dual-energy scan data, the mixed images are created with the purpose of providing the interpreting physician a single set of images that have an appearance similar to that in single-energy images acquired at the same total radiation dose. In this work, the authors used a phantom study to evaluate the image quality of linearly mixed images in comparison to single-energy CT images, assuming the same total radiation dose and taking into account the effect of patient size and the dose partitioning between the low-and high-energy scans. The authors first developed a method to optimize the quality of the linearly mixed images such that the single-energy image quality was compared to the best-case image quality of the dual-energy mixed images. Compared to 80 kV single-energy images for the same radiation dose, the iodine CNR in dual-energy mixed images was worse for smaller phantom sizes. However, similar noise and similar or improved iodine CNR relative to 120 kV images could be achieved for dual-energy mixed images using the same total radiation dose over a wide range of patient sizes (up to 45 cm lateral thorax dimension). Thus, for adult CT practices, which primarily use 120 kV scanning, the use of dual-energy CT for the purpose of material-specific imaging can also produce a set of non-material-specific images for routine diagnostic interpretation that are of similar or improved quality relative to single-energy 120 kV scans.
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Dual-energy CT
- Image quality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging