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In Insights into imaging

BACKGROUND : Renal calculi are a common and recurrent urological disease and are usually detected by CT. In this study, we evaluated the diagnostic capability, image quality, and radiation dose of abdominal ultra-low-dose CT (ULDCT) with deep learning reconstruction (DLR) for detecting renal calculi.

METHODS : Sixty patients with suspected renal calculi were prospectively enrolled. Low-dose CT (LDCT) images were reconstructed with hybrid iterative reconstruction (LD-HIR) and was regarded as the standard for stone and lesion detection. ULDCT images were reconstructed with HIR (ULD-HIR) and DLR (ULD-DLR). We then compared stone detection rate, abdominal lesion detection rate, image quality and radiation dose between LDCT and ULDCT.

RESULTS : A total of 130 calculi were observed on LD-HIR images. Stone detection rates of ULD-HIR and ULD-DLR images were 93.1% (121/130) and 95.4% (124/130). A total of 129 lesions were detected on the LD-HIR images. The lesion detection rate on ULD-DLR images was 92.2%, with 10 cysts < 5 mm in diameter missed. The CT values of organs on ULD-DLR were similar to those on LD-HIR and lower than those on ULD-HIR. Signal-to-noise ratio was highest and noise lowest on ULD-DLR. The subjective image quality of ULD-DLR was similar to that of LD-HIR and better than that of ULD-HIR. The effective radiation dose of ULDCT (0.64 ± 0.17 mSv) was 77% lower than that of LDCT (2.75 ± 0.50 mSv).

CONCLUSION : ULDCT combined with DLR could significantly reduce radiation dose while maintaining suitable image quality and stone detection rate in the diagnosis of renal calculi.

Zhang Xiaoxiao, Zhang Gumuyang, Xu Lili, Bai Xin, Zhang Jiahui, Xu Min, Yan Jing, Zhang Daming, Jin Zhengyu, Sun Hao


Abdominal CT, Deep learning reconstruction, Renal calculi, Ultra-low-dose CT