European Radiology

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 1400–1407 | Cite as

Comparison of full-iodine conventional CT and half-iodine virtual monochromatic imaging: advantages and disadvantages

  • Haruto Sugawara
  • Shigeru SuzukiEmail author
  • Yoshiaki Katada
  • Takuya Ishikawa
  • Rika Fukui
  • Yuzo Yamamoto
  • Osamu Abe
Computed Tomography



To compare image quality of abdominal arteries between full-iodine-dose conventional CT and half-iodine-dose virtual monochromatic imaging (VMI).

Materials and methods

We retrospectively evaluated images of 21 patients (10 men, 11 women; mean age, 73.9 years) who underwent both full-iodine (600 mg/kg) conventional CT and half-iodine (300 mg/kg) VMI. For each patient, we measured and compared CT attenuation and the contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of the aorta, celiac artery, and superior mesenteric artery (SMA). We also compared CT dose index (CTDI). Two board-certified diagnostic radiologists evaluated visualisation of the main trunks and branches of the celiac artery and SMA in maximum-intensity-projection images. We evaluated spatial resolution of the two scans using an acrylic phantom.


The two scans demonstrated no significant difference in CT attenuation of the aorta, celiac artery, and SMA, but CNRs of the aorta and celiac artery were significantly higher in VMI (p = 0.011 and 0.030, respectively). CTDI was significantly higher in VMI (p = 0.024). There was no significant difference in visualisation of the main trunk of the celiac artery and SMA, but visualisation of the gastroduodenal artery, pancreatic arcade, branch of the SMA, marginal arteries, and vasa recta was significantly better in the conventional scan (p < 0.001). The calculated modular transfer function (MTF) suggested decreased spatial resolution of the half-iodine VMI.


Large-vessel depiction and CNRs were comparable between full-iodine conventional CT and half-iodine VMI images, but VMI did not permit clear visualisation of small arteries and required a larger radiation dose.

Key Points

・Reducing the dose of iodine contrast medium is essential for chronic kidney disease patients to prevent contrast-induced nephropathy.

・In virtual monochromatic images at low keV, contrast of relatively large vessels is maintained even with reduced iodine load, but visibility of small vessels is impaired with decreased spatial resolution.

・We should be aware about the advantages and disadvantages associated with virtual monochromatic imaging with reduced iodine dose.


CT angiography Iodine Qualitative evaluation Quantitative evaluation Retrospective study 



Auto-exposure control


Adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction


Contrast-induced nephropathy


Chronic kidney disease


Contrast-to-noise ratio


Computed tomography


Computed tomography dose index


Dose-length product


Gastroduodenal artery


Hounsfield units


Maximum intensity projection


Modular transfer function


Region of interest


Standard deviation


Superior mesenteric artery


Virtual monochromatic imaging



The authors state that this work has not received any funding.

Compliance with ethical standards


The scientific guarantor of this publication is Shigeru Suzuki.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies, whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.

Statistics and biometry

No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was waived by the institutional review board.

Ethical approval

Institutional review board approval was obtained.


• retrospective

• performed at one institution


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haruto Sugawara
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shigeru Suzuki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yoshiaki Katada
    • 1
  • Takuya Ishikawa
    • 1
  • Rika Fukui
    • 1
  • Yuzo Yamamoto
    • 1
  • Osamu Abe
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyTokyo Women’s Medical University Medical Center EastTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, Graduate School of MedicineUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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