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Cerebral bone subtraction CT angiography using 80 kVp and sinogram-affirmed iterative reconstruction: contrast medium and radiation dose reduction with improvement of image quality

  • Diagnostic Neuroradiology
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a contrast medium (CM), radiation dose reduction protocol for cerebral bone-subtraction CT angiography (BSCTA) using 80-kVp and sinogram-affirmed iterative reconstruction (SAFIRE).


Seventy-five patients who had undergone BSCTA under the 120- (n = 37) or the 80-kVp protocol (n = 38) were included. CM was 370 mgI/kg for the 120-kVp and 296 mgI/kg for the 80-kVp protocol; the 120- and the 80-kVp images were reconstructed with filtered back-projection (FBP) and SAFIRE, respectively. We compared effective dose (ED), CT attenuation, image noise, and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of two protocols. We also scored arterial contrast, sharpness, depiction of small arteries, visibility near skull base/clip, and overall image quality on a four-point scale.


ED was 62% lower at 80- than 120-kVp (0.59 ± 0.06 vs 1.56 ± 0.13 mSv, p < 0.01). CT attenuation of the internal carotid artery (ICA) and middle cerebral artery (MCA) was significantly higher on 80- than 120-kVp (ICA: 557.4 ± 105.7 vs 370.0 ± 59.3 Hounsfield units (HU), p < 0.01; MCA: 551.9 ± 107.9 vs 364.6 ± 62.2 HU, p < 0.01). The CNR was also significantly higher on 80- than 120-kVp (ICA: 46.2 ± 10.2 vs 36.9 ± 7.6, p < 0.01; MCA: 45.7 ± 10.0 vs 35.7 ± 9.0, p < 0.01). Visibility near skull base and clip was not significantly different (p = 0.45). The other subjective scores were higher with the 80- than the 120-kVp protocol (p < 0.05).


The 80-kVp acquisition with SAFIRE yields better image quality for BSCTA and substantial reduction in the radiation and CM dose compared to the 120-kVp with FBP protocol.

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Correspondence to Yasunori Nagayama.

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We declare that all human studies have been approved by the institutional review board of Kumamoto City Hospital and have therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. We declare that all patients gave informed consent prior to inclusion in this study.

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We declare that we have no conflict of interest.

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Nagayama, Y., Nakaura, T., Tsuji, A. et al. Cerebral bone subtraction CT angiography using 80 kVp and sinogram-affirmed iterative reconstruction: contrast medium and radiation dose reduction with improvement of image quality. Neuroradiology 59, 127–134 (2017).

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