Background: Dual-energy CT technology enables acquisition of virtual unenhanced (VUE) images from contrast-enhanced scans. Objective: To assess the feasibility of coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring on VUE images derived from fast kVp-switching dual-energy coronary CT angiography. Methods: Twenty-seven patients underwent true noncontrast CAC-scoring CT followed by routine single-energy (120-kVp) and fast kVp-switching dual-energy coronary CT angiography, in a random acquisition order on the same day. We calculated the CAC scores on true noncontrast and VUE images. The image noises and the signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios of the aorta and coronary arteries were measured on both the single-energy coronary CT angiography images and dual-energy coronary CT angiography images (70 keV virtual monochromatic spectral images). The Pearson correlation coefficient test and paired t test were used for statistical analysis. Results: Excellent correlation was observed between the CAC scores on the true noncontrast and those on the VUE images (. r = 0.88; P <001). Compared with single-energy coronary CT angiography, dual-energy coronary CT angiography showed significantly reduced image noise and increased signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios in all regions (all P <001). The effective dose of dual-energy coronary CT angiography (4.3 ± 0.3 mSv) was significantly lower than that of true noncontrast CAC-scoring CT plus single-energy coronary CT angiography (5.4 ± 0.7 mSv; P <0001). Conclusions: Excellent correlation was observed between the CAC scores on the VUE images and true noncontrast images. Thus, fast kVp-switching dual-energy coronary CT angiography could allow prediction of the true CAC scores, potentially reducing the total radiation exposure and image acquisition time by obviating the need for true noncontrast CAC-scoring CT.
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