Photon-counting CT of the brain: In Vivo human results and image-quality assessment

A. Pourmorteza, R. Symons, D. S. Reich, M. Bagheri, T. E. Cork, S. Kappler, S. Ulzheimer, D. A. Bluemke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Photon-counting detectors offer the potential for improved image quality for brain CT but have not yet been evaluated in Vivo. The purpose of this study was to compare photon-counting detector CT with conventional energy-integrating detector CT for human brains. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Radiation dose-matched energy-integrating detector and photon-counting detector head CT scans were acquired with standardized protocols (tube voltage/current, 120 kV(peak)/370 mAs) in both an anthropomorphic head phantom and 21 human asymptomatic volunteers (mean age, 58.9 -8.5 years). Photon-counting detector thresholds were 22 and 52 keV (low-energy bin, 22-52 keV; high-energy bin, 52-120 keV). Image noise, gray matter, and white matter signal-To-noise ratios and GM-WM contrast and contrast-To-noise ratios were measured. Image quality was scored by 2 neuroradiologists blinded to the CT detector type. Reproducibility was assessed with the intraclass correlation coefficient. Energy-integrating detector and photon-counting detector CT images were compared using a paired t test and the Wilcoxon signed rank test. RESULTS: Photon-counting detector CT images received higher reader scores forGM-WMdifferentiation with lower image noise (all P- .001). Intrareader and interreader reproducibility was excellent (intraclass correlation coefficient, -0.86 and 0.79, respectively). Quantitative analysis showed 12.8%-20.6% less image noise for photon-counting detector CT. The SNR of photon-counting detector CT was 19.0%-20.0% higher than of energy-integrating detector CT forGMand WM. The contrast-To-noise ratio of photon-counting detector CT was 15.7% higher for GM-WM contrast and 33.3% higher for GM-WM contrast-To-noise ratio. CONCLUSIONS: Photon-counting detector brain CT scans demonstrated greater gray-white matter contrast compared with conventional CT. This was due to both higher soft-Tissue contrast and lower image noise for photon-counting CT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2257-2263
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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