Simultaneous Dual-Contrast Imaging of Small Bowel with Iodine and Bismuth Using Photon-Counting-Detector Computed Tomography: A Feasibility Animal Study

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Objectives Dual-energy and multienergy computed tomography (DECT/MECT) has the potential to simultaneously visualize two contrast agents in the small bowel: arterial enhancement of iodine in the bowel wall and enteric enhancement of bismuth in the bowel lumen. The purpose of this study was to explore its feasibility in a swine study using a research whole-body photon-counting-detector (PCD) computed tomography (CT) system. Materials and Methods A phantom study was initially performed to evaluate the quantification accuracy of iodine and bismuth separation from a single PCD-CT scan, which also served as the calibration reference for material decomposition of in vivo swine PCD-CT data. In the animal study, a test bolus scan was first performed to determine the time-attenuation curve for the arterial enhancement, based on which the timing of the PCD-CT dual-contrast scan was determined. A 600 mL homogeneous bismuth-saline solution (180 mL Pepto-Bismol + 420 mL normal saline) was orally administered to the pig using esophageal intubation. Approximately 1 hour after bismuth administration, 40 mL iodine contrast (Omnipaque 350, 5 mL/s) was injected intravenously. A PCD-CT scan was performed 13 seconds after the initiation of the contrast injection to simultaneously capture the arterial enhancement of iodine and the enteric enhancement of bismuth. To provide optimal material separation and quantification, all PCD-CT scans in both phantom and animal studies were operated at 140 kV with 4 energy thresholds of 25, 50, 75, and 90 keV. Results Using a generic image-based material decomposition method, the iodine and bismuth samples were successfully delineated and quantified in the phantom images with a root-mean-square-error of 1.32 mg/mL in iodine measurement and 0.64 mg/mL in bismuth measurement. In the pig study, the enhancing bowel wall containing iodine and the small bowel loop containing bismuth were not differentiable in the original PCD-CT images. However, they were clearly distinctive from each other in the iodine- and bismuth-specific images after material decomposition, as reviewed by an abdominal radiologist. In addition, quantitative analysis showed that the misclassification between the two contrast materials was less than 1.0 mg/mL. Conclusions Our study demonstrated the feasibility of simultaneous imaging of iodine and bismuth in small bowel of swine using PCD-CT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-694
Number of pages7
JournalInvestigative radiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • contrast materials
  • material decomposition
  • multi-energy CT (MECT)
  • photon-counting-detector (PCD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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