The feasibility of dual-energy CT in differentiation of vertebral compression fractures

Leyla Karaca, Zeynep Yuceler, Mecit Kantarci, Murteza Çakır, Recep Sade, Cagatay Calıkoglu, Hayri Ogul, U Gulsum Bayrakturan
British Journal of Radiology 2016, 89 (1057): 20150300

OBJECTIVE: To prospectively evaluate the ability of dual-energy CT (DECT), compared with MRI, to identify vertebral compression fractures in acute trauma patients.

METHODS: This institutional review board-approved study included 23 consecutive patients with 32 vertebral fractures who underwent both DECT and MRI of the spine between February 2014 and September 2014. A total of 209 vertebrae were evaluated for the presence of abnormal bone marrow attenuation on DECT and signal on MRI by five experienced radiologists. The specificity, sensitivity, predictive values and intraobserver and interobserver agreements were calculated.

RESULTS: MRI revealed a total of 47 vertebrae (22.4% of all vertebrae) and DECT revealed 44 vertebrae (21.0% of all vertebrae) with oedema. Using MRI as the reference standard, DECT had sensitivity, specificity, positive-predictive value, negative-predictive value and accuracy of 89.3, 98.7, 95.4, 96.9 and 96.6%, respectively. With respect to establishing the presence of oedema, the interobserver agreement was almost perfect (k = 0.82), and the intraobserver agreement was substantial (k = 0.80).

CONCLUSION: Compared with MRI, DECT can provide an accurate demonstration of acute vertebral fractures and can be used as an alternative imaging modality for the assessment of vertebral fractures in patients with contraindications for MRI.

ADVANCES IN KNOWLEDGE: Distinguishing of acute and chronic vertebral compression fracture is important for treatment choices. DECT is very fast compared with MRI and is an alternative imaging modality for the assessment of vertebral fractures in patients with contraindications for MRI.

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