Dual-energy CT: a phantom comparison of different platforms for abdominal imaging

  • Thorsten Sellerer
  • Peter B. Noël
  • Manuel Patino
  • Anushri Parakh
  • Sebastian Ehn
  • Sascha Zeiter
  • Jasmin A. Holz
  • Johannes Hammel
  • Alexander A. Fingerle
  • Franz Pfeiffer
  • David Maintz
  • Ernst J. Rummeny
  • Daniela Muenzel
  • Dushyant V. Sahani
Computed Tomography



Evaluation of imaging performance across dual-energy CT (DECT) platforms, including dual-layer CT (DLCT), rapid-kVp-switching CT (KVSCT) and dual-source CT (DSCT).


A semi-anthropomorphic abdomen phantom was imaged on these DECT systems. Scans were repeated three times for CTDIvol levels of 10 mGy, 20 mGy, 30 mGy and different fat-simulating extension rings. Over the available range of virtual-monoenergetic images (VMI), noise as well as quantitative accuracy of hounsfield units (HU) and iodine concentrations were evaluated.


For all VMI levels, HU values could be determined with high accuracy compared to theoretical values. For KVSCT and DSCT, a noise increase was observed towards lower VMI levels. A patient-size dependent increase in the uncertainty of quantitative iodine concentrations is observed for all platforms. For a medium patient size the iodine concentration root-mean-square deviation at 20 mGy is 0.17 mg/ml (DLCT), 0.30 mg/ml (KVSCT) and 0.77mg/ml (DSCT).


Noticeable performance differences are observed between investigated DECT systems. Iodine concentrations and VMI HUs are accurately determined across all DECT systems. KVSCT and DLCT deliver slightly more accurate iodine concentration values than DSCT for investigated scenarios. In DLCT, low-noise and high-image contrast at low VMI levels may help to increase diagnostic information in abdominal CT.

Key Points

• Current dual-energy CT platforms provide accurate, reliable quantitative information.

• Dual-energy CT cross-platform evaluation revealed noticeable performance differences between different systems.

• Dual-layer CT offers constant noise levels over the complete energy range.


Computed tomography, X-ray Quantitative evaluation Radiologic phantom Comparative study Iodine 



Dual-energy Computed Tomography


Dual-layer CT


Dual-source CT


Hounsfield Units


Rapid kVp Switching CT


Mean Deviation


Root-mean-square Deviation


Region of Interest


Standard Deviation


Virtual Monoenergetic Image


Compliance with ethical standards


The scientific guarantor of this publication is Dushyant V. Sahani MD.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.

Statistics and biometry

No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was not required for this study because no human subjects were included in the study.

Ethical approval

Approval from the institutional animal care committee was not required because no animal subjects were included in the study.


• experimental

• multicentre study


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thorsten Sellerer
    • 1
  • Peter B. Noël
    • 1
    • 2
  • Manuel Patino
    • 3
  • Anushri Parakh
    • 3
  • Sebastian Ehn
    • 1
  • Sascha Zeiter
    • 4
  • Jasmin A. Holz
    • 4
  • Johannes Hammel
    • 1
  • Alexander A. Fingerle
    • 1
    • 2
  • Franz Pfeiffer
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • David Maintz
    • 4
  • Ernst J. Rummeny
    • 2
  • Daniela Muenzel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Dushyant V. Sahani
    • 3
  1. 1.Chair for Biomedical Physics, Department of Physics and Munich School of BioEngineeringTechnical University of MunichGarchingGermany
  2. 2.Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Klinikum rechts der IsarTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany
  3. 3.Division of Abdominal Imaging, Department of RadiologyMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional RadiologyUniversity Hospital of CologneCologneGermany
  5. 5.Institute for Advanced StudyTechnical University of MunichGarchingGermany

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