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Investigation in image quality and immediate patient safety using pre-dual-flow injection for low-contrast dose spectral pulmonary artery CT angiography.

PURPOSE: The patient safety of iodine contrast-enhanced pulmonary artery CT angiography (CTPA) is widely concerned. This study aimed to investigate the image quality and immediate patient safety of spectral CTPA using a lower-contrast dose pre-dual-flow injection method.

METHODS: This retrospective study included 120 patients with suspected pulmonary embolisms who received spectral CTPA between February and December 2022. Patients were divided into normal contrast injection (Group A, n=60) and pre-dual-flow group (Group B, n=60). CT values of pulmonary arteries (PAs) at different levels, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), arteriovenous separation performance, and beam hardening artifact (BHA) index of two sets of images were measured or calculated. The subjective image quality and immediate patient safety were also scored using the three-point method.

RESULTS: Group B had a contrast dose reduction by 42.5 % (60 vs. 34.5 mL). Radiation exposure dose was not statistically different between the two groups (P>0.05). CT values of different-level PAs on group B images were higher than those on group A images (P<0.05). Group B images had higher SNR and CNR, better arteriovenous separation between PA trunk and pulmonary vein, and lower BHA index on soft tissue and PA (all P<0.05). For subjective evaluation of image quality, group B had a better score in beam hardening artifact (P<0.05). For immediate patient safety, the score in comfortability was statistically higher in group B, with P<0.05.

CONCLUSIONS: Comparing with the normal injection method, pre-dual-flow spectral CTPA with a lower contrast dose injected results in better image quality and shows potential in patient-safety promotion.

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