Recent innovations in computed tomographic (CT) hardware and software have allowed implementation of low tube voltage imaging into everyday CT scanning protocols in adults. CT at a low tube voltage setting has many benefits, including (a) radiation dose reduction, which is crucial in young patients and those with chronic medical conditions undergoing serial CT examinations for disease management; and (b) higher contrast enhancement. For the latter, increased attenuation of iodinated contrast material improves the evaluation of hypervascular lesions, vascular structures, intestinal mucosa in patients with bowel disease, and CT urographic images. Additionally, the higher contrast enhancement may provide diagnostic images in patients with renal dysfunction receiving a reduced contrast material load and in patients with suboptimal peripheral intravenous access who require a lower contrast material injection rate. One limitation is that noisier images affect image quality at a low tube voltage setting. The development of denoising algorithms such as iterative reconstruction has made it possible to perform CTat a low tube voltage setting without compromising diagnostic confidence. Other potential pitfalls of low tube voltage CT include (a) photon starvation artifact in larger patients, (b) accentuation of streak artifacts, and (c) alteration of the CT attenuation value, which may affect evaluation of lesions on the basis of conventional enhancement thresholds. CT of the abdomen with a low tube voltage setting is an excellent radiation reduction technique when properly applied to imaging of select patients in the appropriate clinical setting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging