Development of a dual-energy computed tomography quality control program: Characterization of scanner response and definition of relevant parameters for a fast-kVp switching dual-energy computed tomography system

Jessica L. Nute, Megan C. Jacobsen, Wolfgang Stefan, Wei Wei, Dianna D. Cody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: A prototype QC phantom system and analysis process were developed to characterize the spectral capabilities of a fast kV-switching dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) scanner. This work addresses the current lack of quantitative oversight for this technology, with the goal of identifying relevant scan parameters and test metrics instrumental to the development of a dual-energy quality control (DEQC). Methods: A prototype elliptical phantom (effective diameter: 35 cm) was designed with multiple material inserts for DECT imaging. Inserts included tissue equivalent and material rods (including iodine and calcium at varying concentrations). The phantom was scanned on a fast kV-switching DECT system using 16 dual-energy acquisitions (CTDIvol range: 10.3–62 mGy) with varying pitch, rotation time, and tube current. The circular head phantom (22 cm diameter) was scanned using a similar protocol (12 acquisitions; CTDIvol range: 36.7–132.6 mGy). All acquisitions were reconstructed at 50, 70, 110, and 140 keV and using a water-iodine material basis pair. The images were evaluated for iodine quantification accuracy, stability of monoenergetic reconstruction CT number, noise, and positional constancy. Variance component analysis was used to identify technique parameters that drove deviations in test metrics. Variances were compared to thresholds derived from manufacturer tolerances to determine technique parameters that had a nominally significant effect on test metrics. Results: Iodine quantification error was largely unaffected by any of the technique parameters investigated. Monoenergetic HU stability was found to be affected by mAs, with a threshold under which spectral separation was unsuccessful, diminishing the utility of DECT imaging. Noise was found to be affected by CTDIvol in the DEQC body phantom, and CTDIvol and mA in the DEQC head phantom. Positional constancy was found to be affected by mAs in the DEQC body phantom and mA in the DEQC head phantom. Conclusion: A streamlined scan protocol was developed to further investigate the effects of CTDIvol and rotation time while limiting data collection to the DEQC body phantom. Further data collection will be pursued to determine baseline values and statistically based failure thresholds for the validation of long-term DECT scanner performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1444-1458
Number of pages15
JournalMedical physics
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Keywords

  • computed tomography
  • dual-energy CT
  • quality control
  • spectral imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a dual-energy computed tomography quality control program: Characterization of scanner response and definition of relevant parameters for a fast-kVp switching dual-energy computed tomography system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this