Dual-energy CT revisited with multidetector CT: review of principles and clinical applications


DIAGNOSTIC AND INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGY, vol.17, no.3, pp.181-194, 2011 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.4261/1305-3825.dir.3860-10.0
  • Page Numbers: pp.181-194


Although dual-energy CT (DECT) was first conceived in the 1970s, it was not widely used for CT indications. Recently, the simultaneous acquisition of volumetric dual-energy data has been introduced using multidetector CT (MDCT) with two X-ray tubes and rapid kVp switching (gemstone spectral imaging). Two major advantages of DECT are material decomposition by acquiring two image series with different kVp and the elimination of misregistration artifacts. Hounsfield unit measurements by DECT are not absolute and can change depending on the kVp used for an acquisition. Typically, a combination of 80/140 kVp is used for DECT, but for some applications, 100/140 kVp is preferred. In this study, we summarized the clinical applications of DECT and included images that were acquired using the dual-source CT and rapid kVp switching. In general, unenhanced images can be avoided by using DECT for body and neurological applications; iodine can be removed from the image, and a virtual, non-contrast (water) image can be obtained. Neuroradiological applications allow for the removal of bone and calcium from the carotid and brain CT angiography. Thorax applications include perfusion imaging in patients with pulmonary thromboemboli and other chest diseases, xenon ventilation-perfusion imaging and solitary nodule characterization. Cardiac applications include dual-energy cardiac perfusion, viability and cardiac iron detection. The removal of calcific plaques from arteries, bone removal and aortic stent graft evaluation may be achieved in the vascular system. Abdominal applications include the detection and characterization of liver and pancreas masses, the diagnosis of steatosis and iron overload, DECT colonoscopy and CT cholangiography. Urinary system applications are urinary calculi characterization (uric acid vs. non-uric acid), renal cyst characterization and mass characterization. Musculoskeletal applications permit the differentiation of gout from pseudogout and a reduction of metal artifacts. Recent introduction of iterative reconstruction techniques can increase the use of DECT techniques; the use of dual energy in patients with a high BMI is limited due to noise and the radiation dose. DECT may be a good alternative to PET-CT. Iodine map images can quantify iodine uptake, and this approach may be more effective than obtaining non-contrast and post-contrast images for the diagnosis of a solid mass. Thus, computer-aided detection may be used more effectively in CT applications. DECT is a promising technique with potential clinical applications.