PURPOSE We aimed to determine if the image quality and vascular enhancement are preserved in computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) studies performed with ultra-low contrast and optimized radiation dose using high-pitch helical mode of a second generation dual source scanner. METHODS We retrospectively evaluated oncology patients who had CTPA on a 128-slice dual-source scanner, with a high-pitch helical mode (3.0), following injection of 30 mL of Ioversal at 4 mL/s with body mass index (BMI) dependent tube potential (80-120 kVp) and current (130-150 mAs). Attenuation, noise, and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) were measured in multiple pulmonary arteries. Three independent readers graded the images on a 5-point Likert scale for central vascular enhancement (CVE), peripheral vascular enhancement (PVE), and overall quality. RESULTS There were 50 males and 101 females in our study. BMI ranged from 13 to 38 kg/m2 (22.8±4.4 kg/m2). Pulmonary embolism was present in 29 patients (18.9%). Contrast enhancement and SNR were excellent in all the pulmonary arteries (395.3±131.1 and 18.3±5.7, respectively). Image quality was considered excellent by all the readers, with average reader scores near the highest possible score of 5.0 (CVE, 4.83±0.48; PVE, 4.68±0.65; noise/quality, 4.78±0.47). The average radiation dose length product (DLP) was 161±60 mGy.cm. CONCLUSION Using a helical high-pitch acquisition technique, CTPA images of excellent diagnostic quality, including visualization of peripheral segmental/sub-segmental branches can be obtained using an ultra-low dose of iodinated contrast and low radiation dose.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine