Simultaneous dual-contrast imaging using energy-integrating detector multi-energy CT: An in vivo feasibility study

Zhongxing Zhou, Liqiang Ren, Kishore Rajendran, Felix E. Diehn, Joel G. Fletcher, Cynthia H. McCollough, Lifeng Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To demonstrate the feasibility of simultaneous dual-contrast imaging in a large animal using a newly developed dual-source energy-integrating detector (EID)-based multi-energy computed tomography (MECT) system. Methods: Two imaging tasks that may have potential clinical applications were investigated: head/neck (HN) CT angiography (CTA)/CT venography (CTV) with iodine and gadolinium, and small bowel imaging with iodine and bismuth in domestic swine. Dual-source X-ray beam configurations of 70 kV + Au120/Sn120 kV and 70 kV + Au140/Sn140 kV were used for the HN-CTA/CTV and small bowel imaging studies, respectively. A test bolus scan was performed for each study. The regions of interest (ROIs) in the carotid artery and jugular vein for HN-CTA/CTV imaging and abdominal aorta for small bowel imaging were used to determine the time-attenuation curves, based on which the timing for contrast injection and the CT scan was determined. In the HN-CTA/CTV study, an MECT scan was performed at the time point corresponding to the optimal arterial enhancement by iodine and the optimal venous enhancement by gadolinium. In the small bowel imaging study, an MECT scan was performed at the optimal time point to simultaneously capture the mesenteric arterial enhancement of iodine and the enteric enhancement of bismuth. Image-based material decomposition was performed to decompose different materials for each study. To quantitatively characterize contrast material separation and misclassification, two ROIs on left common carotid artery and left internal jugular vein in HN-CTA/CTV imaging and three ROIs on superior mesenteric artery, ileal lumen, and collapsed ileum (ileal wall) in small bowel imaging were placed to measure the mean concentration values and the standard deviations. Results: In the HN-CTA/CTV study, common carotid arteries containing iodine and internal/external jugular veins containing gadolinium were clearly delineated from each other. Fine vessels such as cephalic veins and branches of external jugular veins were noticeable but clear visualization was hindered by image noise in gadolinium-specific (CTV) images, as reviewed by a neuroradiologist. In the small bowel imaging study, the mesenteric arteries and collapsed bowel wall containing iodine and the small bowel loops containing bismuth were clearly distinctive from each other in the iodine- and bismuth-specific images after material decomposition, as reviewed by an abdominal radiologist. Quantitative analyses showed that the misclassifications between the two contrast materials were less than 1.7 and 0.1 mg/ml for CTA/CTV and small bowel imaging studies, respectively. Conclusions: Feasibility of simultaneous CTA/CTV imaging in head and neck with iodine and gadolinium and simultaneous imaging of arterial and enteric phases of small bowel with iodine and bismuth, using a dual-source EID-MECT system, was demonstrated in a swine study. Compared to iodine and gadolinium in CTA/CTV, better delineation and classification of iodine and bismuth in small bowel imaging were achieved mainly due to wider separation between the corresponding two K-edge energies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1458-1467
Number of pages10
JournalMedical physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • dual-energy CT
  • energy-integrating detector
  • material decomposition
  • multi-contrast imaging
  • multi-energy CT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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