Dual-energy CT for the characterization of urinary calculi: In vitro and in vivo evaluation of a low-dose scanning protocol
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The efficiency and radiation dose of a low-dose dual-energy (DE) CT protocol for the evaluation of urinary calculus disease were evaluated. A low-dose dual-source DE-CT renal calculi protocol (140 kV, 46 mAs; 80 kV, 210 mAs) was derived from the single-energy (SE) CT protocol used in our institution for the detection of renal calculi (120 kV, 75 mAs). An Alderson-Rando phantom was equipped with thermoluminescence dosimeters and examined by CT with both protocols. The effective doses were calculated. Fifty-one patients with suspected or known urinary calculus disease underwent DE-CT. DE analysis was performed if calculi were detected using a dedicated software tool. Results were compared to chemical analysis after invasive calculus extraction. An effective dose of 3.43 mSv (male) and 5.30 mSv (female) was measured in the phantom for the DE protocol (vs. 3.17/4.57 mSv for the SE protocol). Urinary calculi were found in 34 patients; in 28 patients, calculi were removed and analyzed (23 patients with calcified calculi, three with uric acid calculi, one with 2,8-dihyxdroxyadenine-calculi, one patient with a mixed struvite calculus). DE analysis was able to distinguish between calcified and non-calcified calculi in all cases. In conclusion, dual-energy urinary calculus analysis is effective also with a low-dose protocol. The protocol tested in this study reliably identified calcified urinary calculi in vivo.
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