Objective: The objectives of this study were to explore utilization of multi–detector row computed tomography (MDCT) in screening for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to modify a liver CT protocol with a goal of dose reduction.
Methods: An electronic mail survey querying HCC surveillance practices was sent. One hundred forty consecutive patients referred for HCC indications underwent 4-phase MDCT of the liver. The unenhanced and delayed phases were evaluated by 3 readers for identification of HCC and reader confidence. The estimated effective dose (ED) was calculated.
Results: Computed tomography is primarily used to screen for HCC. Average estimated ED was 35.5 mSv. Unenhanced phase did not add to reader confidence; delayed phase increased confidence in 47% of cases. Thirty-two percent of the screening population had cumulative ED of greater than 200 mSv.
Conclusions: Multi–detector row CT of the liver is used frequently in screening for HCC. Unenhanced phase imaging does not add to HCC detection and may be eliminated to reduce radiation dose.