Indexed on: 26 Oct '12Published on: 26 Oct '12Published in: AJR. American journal of roentgenology
The purpose of this study was to assess the value of dual-source dual-energy CT in the evaluation of complex cystic renal masses.Seventy patients underwent contrast-enhanced dual-energy CT that included true unenhanced images acquired in single-energy mode, corticomedullary phase images acquired in dual-energy mode, and nephrographic phase images acquired in single-energy mode. Virtual unenhanced, blended weighted-average, and color-coded iodine overlay images were reconstructed. The acceptance level and image quality of virtual and true unenhanced images were evaluated. Contrast enhancement on both true unenhanced or blended weighted-average images and color-coded iodine overlay images was evaluated with both calculation in regions of interest and use of confidence level scales. Radiation dose parameters were estimated.Virtual unenhanced images of 70 lesions (97.2%) and true unenhanced images of 72 lesions (100%) were judged acceptable (p = 0.5). The mean quality score of virtual unenhanced images was 2.0 ± 0.7 and of true unenhanced images was 1.5 ± 0.5 (p < 0.001). Mean contrast enhancement measured on true unenhanced and blended weighted-average images was 45.9 ± 15.9 HU (range, 21-78 HU) and on color-coded iodine overlay images was 47.3 ± 16.8 HU (range, 22-75 HU) with no significant differences. Enhancement was excluded on color-coded iodine overlay images with a significantly (p < 0.03) higher level of confidence than it was on true unenhanced and blended weighted-average images. The mean dose reduction with use of a combined dual- and single-energy dual-phase CT protocol was 29.1% ± 11.9% (p < 0.001).Dual-source dual-energy CT is a reliable imaging technique in the evaluation of complex cystic renal masses. True unenhanced images can be replaced by virtual unenhanced images with considerable radiation dose reduction. The color-coded iodine overlay technique is a useful tool for both excluding and identifying endocystic enhancement.