Dual energy CT

Project: Research


A relatively new feature of a modern CT system is "dual energy" which means that the images are produced by two different energy levels. This can be achieved in various ways and one of the suppliers has built a system with dual x-ray tubes and detectors.

In many CT examinations, contrast medium, which is commonly based on iodine, is used to increase the diagnostic information. Elements such as iodine attenuate different amounts at two different tube voltages (energy levels) meaning that it is possible to calculate the contribution from this specific material in the image. The contribution of iodine can be removed from the image (VNC, the virtual non-contrast), which means that in some cases the scan without contrast can be omitted. The reliability of VNC images is evaluated in an ongoing clinical study.

A phantom study has been performed to study the attenuation of iodine, gold, bismuth, tungsten, and gadolinium of different tube voltages and various filtrations. The aim was to investigate by using attenuation data at different tube voltages whether it is possible to distinguish different contrast from each other when they are mixed in the same solution. This would open up possibilities with the use of two different contrast agents, in various phases, in the same examination.

Dual energy is a technology whose full potential has not yet been explored. Phantom measurements and clinical trials are ongoing.
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