BACKGROUND: Our study aims to evaluate the image quality and feasibility of 128-slice dual-energy CTA (DE-CTA) for supra-aortic arteries using reduced amounts of contrast medium (CM).
METHODS: A prospective study was performed in 54 patients receiving CTA of the head and neck with a 128-slice dual-source CT system. Patients were randomized into two groups with a volume of either 40 mL of CM (Group I) or 50 mL of CM (Group II). Arterial and venous enhancements were recorded for quantitative assessment. Qualitative assessments for images without bone removal (BR) were based on a) the visualization of the circle of Willis and b) streak artifacts due to residual CM in the subclavian or internal jugular veins ipsilateral to injection of CM. Qualitative assessment of dual-energy images using BR was based on the presence of bone remnants and vessel integrity. Quantitative data was compared using the Student t test. The χ(2) test was used for the qualitative measurements of streak artifacts in veins while the Mann-Whitney U test was used for the qualitative measurements of images with BR.
RESULTS: Arterial and venous attenuation was significantly higher in Group II (P=0.000). Image quality regarding the circle of Willis was excellent in both groups (3.90±0.30 for Group I and 4.00±0 for Group II) . Imaging of the internal jugular veins was scored higher in Group I (1.87±0.72) compared with Group II (1.48±0.51) (P=0.021). Within Group I using BR, mean scores for bone remnants did not differ significantly (P>0.05) but mean scores of vessel integrity (P
CONCLUSIONS: Contrast-enhanced head and neck CTA is feasible using a scan protocol with low amounts of contrast medium (40 mL) on a 128-slice dual-energy CTA. The 40-mL protocol provides satisfactory image quality before and after dual-energy bone-removal post-processing.
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