Effect of Noise-Optimized Monoenergetic Postprocessing on Diagnostic Accuracy for Detecting Incidental Pulmonary Embolism in Portal-Venous Phase Dual-Energy Computed Tomography

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Abstract

Objectives

The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of virtual monoenergetic images (MEI+) at low kiloelectronvolt levels for the detection of incidental pulmonary embolism (PE) in oncological follow-up portal-venous phase dual-energy (DE-CTpv) staging.

Materials and Methods

Twenty-six patients with incidental PE in DE-CTpv staging, which was confirmed by computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA), were included in this study. In addition, 26 matched control patients who were negative for PE in both DE-CTpv and CTPA were included. All examinations were performed on a third-generation DE-CT system in single-energy (CTPA) and dual-energy mode (DE-CTpv). Subsequently, 2 series of MEI+ data sets were reconstructed at 40 and 55 keV from the DE-CTpv data and compared with CTPA and the linearly blended CTpv images. Diagnostic accuracy and diagnostic confidence were calculated and compared for MEI+ reconstructions and for CTpv images regarding the detection of PE with CTPA as standard of reference.

Results

In 3 patients, PE was only detectable in CTPA and in the 40-kV and 55-kV MEI+ reconstructions but not in CTpv images. Diagnostic accuracy increased significantly for both MEI+ series (40 keV; area under the curve [AUC], 0.928; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.879–0.978; 55 keV; AUC, 0.960; 95% CI, 0.922–0.998) as compared with CTpv (AUC, 0.814; 95% CI, 0.741–0.887; P ≤ 0.004). Diagnostic confidence was rated highest in CTPA (median, 5; range, 3–5) followed by 55-keV MEI+ and 40-keV MEI+ (median, 5; range, 2–5 and median, 5; range, 2–5, respectively) and was lowest for CTpv (median, 4; range, 1–5), with significant differences to CTPA and MEI+ reconstructions (P ≤ 0.001).

Conclusions

Monoenergetic image reconstructions from DE-CT data sets at low kiloelectronvolt levels improve diagnostic accuracy for the detection of incidental PE in oncological follow-up DE-CTpv staging, with the highest subjective diagnostic confidence in MEI+ at 55 keV.

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