Purpose: The objective of this study was to assess the effect of Sinogram Affirmed Iterative Reconstruction (SAFIRE) and filtered back-projection (FBP) techniques on abdominal computed tomography (CT) performed with 50% and 75% radiation dose reductions.
Methods: Twenty-four patients (mean age, 64 ± 14 years; male-female ratio, 10:14) gave informed consent for an institutional review board–approved prospective study involving acquisition of additional research images through the abdomen on 128-slice multi–detector-row CT (SOMATOM Definition Flash) at quality reference mAs of 100 (50% lower dose) and 50 (75% lower dose) over a scan length of 10 cm using combined modulation (CARE Dose 4D). Standard-of-care abdominal CT was performed at 200 quality reference mAs, with remaining parameters held constant. The 50- and 100-mAs data sets were reconstructed with FBP and at 4 SAFIRE settings (S1, S2, S3, S4). Higher number of SAFIRE settings denotes increased strength of the algorithm resulting in lower image noise. Two abdominal radiologists independently compared the FBP and SAFIRE images for lesion number, location, size and conspicuity, and visibility of small structures, image noise, and diagnostic confidence. Objective noise and Hounsfield units (HU) were measured in the liver and the descending aorta.
Results: All 43 lesions were detected on both FBP and SAFIRE images. Minor blocky, pixelated appearance of 50% and 75% reduced dose images was noted at S3 and S4 SAFIRE but not at S1 and S2 settings. Subjective noise was suboptimal in both 50% and 75% lower-dose FBP images but was deemed acceptable on all SAFIRE settings. Sinogram Affirmed Iterative Reconstruction images were deemed acceptable in all patients at 50% lower dose and in 22 of 24 patients at 75% lower dose. As compared with 75% reduced dose FBP, objective noise was lower by 22.8% (22.9/29.7), 35% (19.3/29.7), 44.3% (16.7/29.3), and 54.8% (13.4/29.7) on S1 to S4 settings, respectively (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Sinogram Affirmed Iterative Reconstruction–enabled reconstruction provides abdominal CT images without loss in diagnostic value at 50% reduced dose and in some patients also at 75% reduced dose.