Indexed on: 24 Mar '10Published on: 24 Mar '10Published in: Radiology
To determine the effect of reduced radiation (tube charge, measured as milliamperes per second) protocols on the sensitivity and specificity of multidetector computed tomography (CT) in the detection of renal calculi.This Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant human cadaveric study was approved by the Department of Anatomic Pathology with strict adherence to the university policy for handling donor specimens. Three to five renal stones (range, 2.0-4.0 mm) were randomly placed in 14 human cadaveric kidneys and scanned with a 16-detector CT scanner at 100, 60, and 30 mAs while maintaining other imaging parameters as constant. Following acquisition, images were reviewed independently by two radiologists who were blinded to the location and presence of renal calculi. Interobserver agreement was measured with kappa statistics. The McNemar test was used to compare the sensitivity and specificity between different radiation settings for each reader.Specificity for both readers ranged from 105 (0.95; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.90, 0.99) to 109 (0.99; 95% CI: 0.95, 1.0) of 110 without significant differences between 30 and 60 mAs to the standard 100 mAs (P = .500 to >.999). Sensitivity ranged from 42 (0.74; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.84) to 48 (0.84; 95% CI: 0.72, 0.93) of 57, also without significant differences (P = .070 to >.999). When renal calculi detection rates were analyzed by size, 3.0-4.0-mm stones were detected well at all tube charge settings, ranging from 86%-90% (n = 21 for 3.0-mm stones) to 95%-100% (n = 19 for 4.0-mm stones). However, 2.0-mm stones were poorly detected at all tube charge settings (29%-59%; 5-10 of 17). Overall interobserver agreement for stone detection was excellent, with kappa = 0.862.Decreasing the tube charge from 100 to 30 mAs resulted in similar detection of renal stones while reducing patient radiation exposure by as much as 70%. Multidetector CT scanning parameters should be tailored to minimize radiation exposure to the patients while helping detect clinically significant renal stones.