The purpose of this study was to compare renal cyst pseudoenhancement between virtual monochromatic spectral (VMS) and conventional polychromatic 120-kVp images obtained during the same abdominal computed tomography (CT) examination and among images reconstructed using filtered back projection (FBP), adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR), and model-based iterative reconstruction (MBIR). Our institutional review board approved this prospective study; each participant provided written informed consent. Thirty-one patients (19 men, 12 women; age range, 59-85 years; mean age, 73.2±5.5 years) with renal cysts underwent unenhanced 120-kVp CT followed by sequential fast kVp-switching dual-energy (80/140kVp) and 120-kVp abdominal enhanced CT in the nephrographic phase over a 10-cm scan length with a random acquisition order and 4.5-second intervals. Fifty-one renal cysts (maximal diameter, 18.0±14.7mm [range, 4-61mm]) were identified. The CT attenuation values of the cysts as well as of the kidneys were measured on the unenhanced images, enhanced VMS images (at 70keV) reconstructed using FBP and ASIR from dual-energy data, and enhanced 120-kVp images reconstructed using FBP, ASIR, and MBIR. The results were analyzed using the mixed-effects model and paired t test with Bonferroni correction. The attenuation increases (pseudoenhancement) of the renal cysts on the VMS images reconstructed using FBP/ASIR (least square mean, 5.0/6.0Hounsfield units [HU]; 95% confidence interval, 2.6-7.4/3.6-8.4HU) were significantly lower than those on the conventional 120-kVp images reconstructed using FBP/ASIR/MBIR (least square mean, 12.1/12.8/11.8HU; 95% confidence interval, 9.8-14.5/10.4-15.1/9.4-14.2HU) (all P<.001); on the other hand, the CT attenuation values of the kidneys on the VMS images were comparable to those on the 120-kVp images. Regardless of the reconstruction algorithm, 70-keV VMS images showed a lower degree of pseudoenhancement of renal cysts than 120-kVp images, while maintaining kidney contrast enhancement comparable to that on 120-kVp images.
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