The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a low tube voltage technique and hybrid iterative reconstruction (HIR) on image quality at 3-dimensional computed tomographic angiography (3D-CTA) of the liver.
Before hepatic surgery, we randomly assigned 60 patients (17 women, 43 men; mean ± SD age, 68.9 ± 10.1 years) who had undergone 3D-CTA to 1 of 2 protocols; 30 patients underwent scanning under the conventional 120–kilovolt (peak) protocol with filtered back projection (P1); and 30 patients, under an 80–kilovolt (peak) protocol with HIR (P2). The estimated effective radiation dose, computed tomographic attenuation, image noise, contrast-to-noise ratio, and figure of merit were calculated, and the visual image quality of 3D-CTA was scored on a 4-point scale.
The mean effective radiation dose was significantly lower under P2 than P1 (4.8 ± 1.2 vs 7.2 ± 1.5 mSv, P < 0.01). P1 and P2 did not significantly differ with respect to the image noise (10.5 ± 2.3 vs 9.9 ± 1.6 Hounsfield units; P = 0.46). Computed tomographic attenuation, contrast-to-noise ratio, figure of merit, and the visual scores for image quality were higher under P2 than P1 (P < 0.01).
The use of low tube voltage and HIR can yield significantly improved image quality at 3D-CTA of the liver.