Objectives: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of computed tomography (CT) colonography (CTC) reconstructed with different levels of adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASiR, GE Healthcare) and Veo (model-based iterative reconstruction, GE Healthcare) at various tube currents in detection of polyps in porcine colon phantoms.
Methods: Five porcine colon phantoms with 46 simulated polyps were scanned at different radiation doses (10, 30, and 50 mA s) and were reconstructed using filtered back projection (FBP), ASiR (20%, 40%, and 60%) and Veo. Eleven data sets for each phantom (10-mA s FBP, 10-mA s 20% ASiR, 10-mA s 40% ASiR, 10-mA s 60% ASiR, 10-mA s Veo, 30-mA s FBP, 30-mA s 20% ASiR, 30-mA s 40% ASiR, 30-mA s 60% ASiR, 30-mA s Veo, and 50-mA s FBP) yielded a total of 55 data sets. Polyp detection sensitivity and confidence level of 2 independent observers were evaluated with the McNemar test, the Fisher exact test, and receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Comparative analyses of overall image quality score, measured image noise, and interpretation time were also performed.
Results: Per-polyp detection sensitivities and specificities were highest in 10-mA s Veo, 30-mA s FBP, 30-mA s 60% ASiR, and 50-mA s FBP (sensitivity, 100%; specificity, 100%). The area-under-the-curve values for the overall performance of each data set was also highest (1.000) at 50-mA s FBP, 30-mA s FBP, 30-mA s 60% ASiR, and 10-mA s Veo. Images reconstructed with ASiR showed statistically significant improvement in per-polyp detection sensitivity as the percent level of per-polyp sensitivity increased (10-mA s FBP vs 10-mA s 20% ASiR, P = 0.011; 10-mA s FBP vs 10-mA s 40% ASiR, P = 0.000; 10-mA s FBP vs 10-mA s 60% ASiR, P = 0.000; 10-mA s 20% ASiR vs 40% ASiR, P = 0.034). Overall image quality score was highest at 30-mA s Veo and 50-mA s FBP. The quantitative measurement of the image noise was lowest at 30-mA s Veo and second lowest at 10-mA s Veo. There was a trend of decrease in time required for image interpretation as the percent level of ASiR increased, and ASiR or Veo was used instead of FBP. However, differences from comparative analyses of overall image quality score, measured image noise, and interpretation time did not reach statistical significance.
Conclusion: ASiR and Veo showed improved diagnostic performance with excellent sensitivity and specificity with less image noise and good image quality compared with FBP reconstruction of same radiation dose. Our study confirmed feasibility of low-dose CTC with iterative reconstruction as a promising screening tool with excellent diagnostic performance similar to that of the standard-dose CTC with FBP.