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Reduced Intravenous Contrast Dose Portal Venous Phase Photon-Counting Computed Tomography Compared With Conventional Energy-Integrating Detector Portal Venous Phase Computed Tomography.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare portal venous phase photon-counting CT (PCCT) using 20 cc less than weight-based contrast dosing with energy-integrating detector CT (EID-CT) using weight-based dosing by quantitative and qualitative analysis.

METHODS: Fifty adult patients who underwent a reduced intravenous contrast dose portal venous phase PCCT from May 1, 2023, to August 10, 2023, and a prior portal-venous EID-CT with weight-based contrast dosing were retrospectively identified. Hounsfield units (HU) and noise (SD of HU) were obtained from region-of-interest measurements on 70-keV PCCT and EID-CT in 4 hepatic segments, the main and right portal vein, and both paraspinal muscles. Signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios were computed. Three abdominal radiologists qualitatively assessed overall image quality, hepatic enhancement, and confidence for metastasis identification on 5-point Likert scales. Readers also recorded the presence/absence of hepatic metastases. Quantitative variables were compared with paired t tests, and multiple comparisons were accounted for with a Bonferroni-adjusted α level of .0016. Ordinal logistic regression was used to evaluate qualitative assessments. Interreader agreement for hepatic metastases was calculated using Fleiss' κ.

RESULTS: Fifty patients (32 women; mean [SD] age, 64 [13] years) were included. There was no significant difference in hepatic HU, portal vein HU, noise, and signal-to-noise or contrast-to-noise ratio between reduced contrast dose portal venous phase PCCT versus EID-CT (all Ps > 0.0016). Image quality, degree of hepatic enhancement, and confidence for metastasis identification were not different for reduced dose PCCT 70-keV images and EID-CT (P = 0.06-0.69). κ Value for metastasis identification was 0.86 (95% confidence interval, 0.70-1.00) with PCCT and 0.78 (95% confidence interval, 0.59-0.98) with EID-CT.

CONCLUSION: Reduced intravenous contrast portal venous phase PCCT 70-keV images had similar attenuation and image quality as EID-CT with weight-based dosing. Metastases were identified with near-perfect agreement in reduced dose PCCT 70-keV images.

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