PCCT visualizes pulmonary embolism at reduced radiation dose

Photon-counting CT (PCCT) effectively visualizes pulmonary embolism (PE) and reduces radiation dose by 48% compared with traditional CT, according to research presented November 27 at the RSNA meeting.

"[PCCT] ensures confident depiction of acute PE with spectral imaging available at low radiation dose in all patient categories," said presenter Martine Remy-Jardin, MD, PhD, of the University Centre of Lille in France.

Remy-Jardin and colleagues conducted a study that compared performance of traditional CT to PCCT for diagnosing acute PE. The research included a group of patients referred for suspicion of acute pulmonary embolism who underwent a chest CT angiographic (CTA) exam with a traditional CT system (158 patients) and a second group that underwent CTA with a PCCT device (172 patients).

Group 1 patients underwent the exam with one of two scanning options depending on their respiratory status: a dual-energy protocol when a six-second breath hold was possible (Group 1a, 105 individuals), or a high-pitch, single-energy protocol when the patient was short of breath (Group 1b, 53 individuals). All patients in Group 2 were scanned with a multienergy protocol.

Performance comparison of traditional CT to PCCT for diagnosing acute pulmonary embolism
Measure Group 1 (dual-energy protocol) Group 2 (multienergy protocol) Percent reduction
Acquisition time 4 seconds 0.9 seconds -77.5%
Mean CT dose index-volume (CTDIvol) 9.5 mGy 5.1 mGy -46.3%
Median DLP 323.4 mGy.cm 169 mGy.cm -47.7%
Proportion of examinations with no cardiogenic motion artifacts 153 30 -28.6%

Acute PE was identified in 16 patients in Group 1a (15%), 14 patients in Group 1b (26%), and 21 patients in Group 2 (12%), Remy-Jardin reported. She and her colleagues also found the following:

The study findings confirm the benefit of using PCCT for diagnosing acute PE, Remy-Jardin concluded.

"[Compared with traditional CT, PCCT] maintains high diagnostic value … [and shows] considerable radiation dose reduction of 48%," she said.

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