CT pulmonary angiography: dose reduction via a next generation iterative reconstruction algorithm

Andreas Sauter, Thomas Koehler, Bernhard Brendel, Juliane Aichele, Jan Neumann, Peter B. Noël, Ernst J. Rummeny, Daniela Muenzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) is the standard imaging modality for detection or rule out of pulmonary embolism (PE); however, radiation exposure is a serious concern. With iterative reconstruction algorithms a distinct dose reduction could be achievable. Purpose: To evaluate a next generation iterative reconstruction algorithm for detection or rule-out of PE in simulated low-dose CTPA. Material and Methods: Low-dose CT datasets with 50%, 25%, and 12.5% of the original tube current were simulated based on CTPA examinations of 92 patients with suspected PE. All datasets were reconstructed with two reconstruction algorithms: standard filtered back-projection (FBP) and iterative model reconstruction (IMR). In total, 736 CTPA datasets were evaluated by three blinded radiologists regarding image quality, diagnostic confidence, and detectability of PE. Furthermore, contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) was calculated. Results: Images reconstructed with IMR showed better detectability of PE than images reconstructed with FBP, especially at lower dose levels. With IMR, sensitivity was over 95% for central and segmental PE down to a dose level of 25%. Significantly higher subjective image quality was shown at lower dose levels (25% and 12.5%) for IMR images whereas it was higher for FBP images at higher dose levels. FBP was rated as showing less artificial image appearance. CNR was significantly higher with IMR at all dose levels. Conclusion: By using IMR, a dose reduction of up to 50% while maintaining satisfactory image quality seems feasible in standard clinical situations, resulting in a mean effective dose of 1.38 mSv for CTPA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-487
Number of pages10
JournalActa Radiologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • CT
  • CT angiography
  • Thorax
  • adults
  • computed tomography
  • computer applications – detection
  • diagnosis
  • lung


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