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Med Phys. 2011 Apr;38(4):2222-32.

Accuracies of the synthesized monochromatic CT numbers and effective atomic numbers obtained with a rapid kVp switching dual energy CT scanner.

Author information

1
Department of Radiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan 48109-5842, USA. goodsitt@umich.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

This study was performed to investigate the accuracies of the synthesized monochromatic images and effective atomic number maps obtained with the new GE Discovery CT750 HD CT scanner.

METHODS:

A Gammex-RMI model 467 tissue characterization phantom and the CT number linearity section of a Phantom Laboratory Catphan 600 phantom were scanned using the dual energy (DE) feature on the GE CT750 HD scanner. Synthesized monochromatic images at various energies between 40 and 120 keV and effective atomic number (Z(eff)) maps were generated. Regions of interest were placed within these images/maps to measure the average monochromatic CT numbers and average Z(eff) of the materials within these phantoms. The true Z(eff) values were either supplied by the phantom manufacturer or computed using Mayneord's equation. The linear attenuation coefficients for the true CT numbers were computed using the NIST XCOM program with the input of manufacturer supplied elemental compositions and densities. The effects of small variations in the assumed true densities of the materials were also investigated. Finally, the effect of body size on the accuracies of the synthesized monochromatic CT numbers was investigated using a custom lumbar section phantom with and without an external fat-mimicking ring.

RESULTS:

Other than the Z(eff) of the simulated lung inserts in the tissue characterization phantom, which could not be measured by DECT, the Z(eff) values of all of the other materials in the tissue characterization and Catphan phantoms were accurate to 15%. The accuracies of the synthesized monochromatic CT numbers of the materials in both phantoms varied with energy and material. For the 40-120 keV range, RMS errors between the measured and true CT numbers in the Catphan are 8-25 HU when the true CT numbers were computed using the nominal plastic densities. These RMS errors improve to 3-12 HU for assumed true densities within the nominal density +/- 0.02 g/cc range. The RMS errors between the measured and true CT numbers of the tissue mimicking materials in the tissue characterization phantom over the 40-120 keV range varied from about 6 HU-248 HU and did not improve as dramatically with small changes in assumed true density.

CONCLUSIONS:

Initial tests indicate that the Z(eff) values computed with DECT on this scanner are reasonably accurate; however, the synthesized monochromatic CT numbers can be very inaccurate, especially for dense tissue mimicking materials at low energies. Furthermore, the synthesized monochromatic CT numbers of materials still depend on the amount of the surrounding tissues especially at low keV, demonstrating that the numbers are not truly monochromatic. Further research is needed to develop DE methods that produce more accurate synthesized monochromatic CT numbers.

PMID:
21626956
DOI:
10.1118/1.3567509
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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