Study objectives were the quantitative evaluation of whether conventional abdominal computed tomography (CT) perfusion measurements mathematically correlate with quantitative single-acquisition dual-energy CT (DECT) iodine concentration maps, the determination of the optimum time of acquisition for achieving maximum correlation, and the estimation of the potential for radiation exposure reduction when replacing conventional CT perfusion by single-acquisition DECT iodine concentration maps.
Materials and Methods
Dual-energy CT perfusion sequences were dynamically acquired over 51 seconds (34 acquisitions every 1.5 seconds) in 24 patients with histologically verified pancreatic carcinoma using dual-source DECT at tube potentials of 80 kVp and 140 kVp. Using software developed in-house, perfusion maps were calculated from 80-kVp image series using the maximum slope model after deformable motion correction. In addition, quantitative iodine maps were calculated for each of the 34 DECT acquisitions per patient. Within a manual segmentation of the pancreas, voxel-by-voxel correlation between the perfusion map and each of the iodine maps was calculated for each patient to determine the optimum time of acquisition topt defined as the acquisition time of the iodine map with the highest correlation coefficient. Subsequently, regions of interest were placed inside the tumor and inside healthy pancreatic tissue, and correlation between mean perfusion values and mean iodine concentrations within these regions of interest at topt was calculated for the patient sample.
The mean (SD) topt was 31.7 (5.4) seconds after the start of contrast agent injection. The mean (SD) perfusion values for healthy pancreatic and tumor tissues were 67.8 (26.7) mL per 100 mL/min and 43.7 (32.2) mL per 100 mL/min, respectively. At topt, the mean (SD) iodine concentrations were 2.07 (0.71) mg/mL in healthy pancreatic and 1.69 (0.98) mg/mL in tumor tissue, respectively. Overall, the correlation between perfusion values and iodine concentrations was high (0.77), with correlation of 0.89 in tumor and of 0.56 in healthy pancreatic tissue at topt. Comparing radiation exposure associated with a single DECT acquisition at topt (0.18 mSv) to that of an 80 kVp CT perfusion sequence (2.96 mSv) indicates that an average reduction of Deff by 94% could be achieved by replacing conventional CT perfusion with a single-acquisition DECT iodine concentration map.
Quantitative iodine concentration maps obtained with DECT correlate well with conventional abdominal CT perfusion measurements, suggesting that quantitative iodine maps calculated from a single DECT acquisition at an organ-specific and patient-specific optimum time of acquisition might be able to replace conventional abdominal CT perfusion measurements if the time of acquisition is carefully calibrated. This could lead to large reductions of radiation exposure to the patients while offering quantitative perfusion data for diagnosis.