Diagnostic accuracy of low-dose versus ultra-low-dose CT for lumbar disc disease and facet joint osteoarthritis in patients with low back pain with MRI correlation

Sun Hwa Lee, Seong Jong Yun, Hyeon Hwan Jo, Dong Hyeon Kim, Jae Gwang Song, Yong Sung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To compare the image quality, radiation dose, and diagnostic performance between low-dose (LD) and ultra-low-dose (ULD) lumbar-spine (L-spine) CT with iterative reconstruction (IR) for patients with chronic low back pain (LBP). Methods: In total, 260 patients with chronic LBP who underwent L-spine CT between November 2015 and September 2016 were prospectively enrolled. Of these, 143 underwent LD-CT with IR and 117 underwent ULD-CT with IR. The patients were divided according to their body mass index (BMI) into BMI1 (<22.9 kg/m2), BMI2 (23.0–24.9 kg/m2), and BMI3 (≥25 kg/m2) groups. Two blinded radiologists independently evaluated the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), qualitative image quality, and final diagnoses (lumbar disc disease and facet joint osteoarthritis). L-spine MRIs interpreted by consensus were used as the reference standard. All data were statistically analyzed. Results: ULD protocol showed significantly lower SNR for all patients (p < 0.001) except the vertebral bodies and lower qualitative image quality for BMI3 patients (p ≤ 0.033). There was no statistically significant difference between ULD (sensitivity, 95.1–98.1%; specificity, 92.5–98.7%; accuracy, 94.6–98.0%) and LD protocols (sensitivity, 95.6–100%; specificity, 95.5–98.9%; accuracy, 97.4–98.1%), (all p≥0.1) in the BMI1 and BMI2; while dose was 60–68% lower with the ULD protocol. Interobserver agreements were excellent or good with regard to image quality and final diagnoses. Conclusions: For the BM1 and BMI2 groups, ULD-CT provided an acceptable image quality and exhibited a diagnostic accuracy similar to that of LD-CT. These findings suggest that it is a useful diagnostic tool for patients with chronic LBP who exhibit a BMI of <25 kg/m2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-504
Number of pages14
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Computed tomography
  • Diagnostic performance
  • Facet joint osteoarthritis
  • Image quality
  • Lumbar disc herniation

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