Computed tomography angiography (CTA) of intracranial arteries has high demands on image quality. Important parameters influencing vessel enhancement are injection rate, concentration of contrast media and tube voltage.
To evaluate the impact of an increase of contrast media concentration from 300 to 400 mg iodine/mL (mgI/mL) and the effect of a decrease of tube voltage from 120 to 90 kVp on vessel attenuation and image quality in CT angiography of intracranial arteries.
Material and Methods
Sixty-three patients were included into three protocol groups: Group I, 300 mgI/mL 120 kVp; Group II, 400 mgI/mL 120 kVp; Group III, 400 mgI/mL 90 kVp. Hounsfield units (HU) were measured in the internal carotid artery (ICA) and the M1 and M2 segments of the middle cerebral artery. Image quality grading was performed regarding M1 and M2 segments, volume rendering and general image impression.
The difference in mean HU in ICA concerning the effect of contrast media concentration was statistically significant (P = 0.03) in favor of higher concentration. The difference in ICA enhancement due to the effect of tube voltage was statistically significant (P < 0.01) in favor of lower tube voltage. The increase of contrast medium concentration raised the mean enhancement in ICA with 18% and the decrease of tube voltage raised the mean enhancement with 37%. Image quality grading showed a trend towards improved grading for higher contrast concentration and lower tube voltage. Statistically significant better grading was found for the combined effect of both measures except for general impression (P 0.01-0.05).
The uses of highly concentrated contrast media and low tube voltage are easily performed measures to improve image quality in CTA of intracranial vessel.
- Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging