Interventional dual-energy imaging - Feasibility of rapid kV-switching on a C-arm CT system

K. Müller, S. Datta, M. Ahmad, J. H. Choi, T. Moore, L. Pung, C. Niebler, G. E. Gold, A. Maier, R. Fahrig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose: In the last years, dual-energy CT imaging has shown clinical value, thanks to its ability to differentiate materials based on their atomic number and to exploit different properties of images acquired at two different energies. C-arm CT systems are used to guide procedures in the interventional suite. Until now, there are no commercially available systems that employ dual-energy material decomposition. This paper explores the feasibility of implementing a fast kV-switching technique on a clinically available angiographic system for acquiring dual-energy C-arm CT images. Methods: As an initial proof of concept, a fast kV-switching approach was implemented on an angiographic C-arm system and the peak tube voltage during 3D rotational scans was measured. The tube voltage measurements during fast kV-switching scans were compared to corresponding measurements on kV-constant scans. Additionally, to prove stability of the requested exposure parameters, the accuracy of the delivered tube current and pulse width were also recorded and compared. In a first phantom experiment, the voxel intensity values of the individual tube voltage components of the fast kV-switching scans were compared to their corresponding kV-constant scans. The same phantom was used for a simple material decomposition between different iodine concentrations and pure water using a fast kV-switching protocol of 81 and 125 kV. In the last experiment, the same kV-switching protocol as in the phantom scan was used in an in vivo pig study to demonstrate the clinical feasibility. Results: During rapid kV-switching acquisitions, the measured tube voltage of the x-ray tube during fast switching scans has an absolute deviation of 0.23 π0.13 kV compared to the measured tube voltage produced during kV-constant acquisitions. The stability of the peak tube voltage over different scan requests was about 0.10 kV for the low and 0.46 for the high energy kV-switching scans and less than 0.1 kV for kV-constant scans, indicating slightly lower stability for kV-switching scans. The tube current resulted in a relative deviation of -1.6% for the low and 6.6% overestimation for the high tube voltage of the kV-switching scans compared to the kV-constant scans. The pulse width showed no deviation for the longer pulse width and only minor deviations (0.02 π 0.02 ms) for the shorter pulse widths compared to the kV-constant scans. The phantom experiment using different iodine concentrations showed an accurate correlation (R2< 0.99) between the extracted intensity values in the kV-switching and kV-constant reconstructed volumes, and allows for an automatic differentiation between contrast concentration down to 10% (350 mg/ml iodine) and pure water under low-noise conditions. Preliminary results of iodine and soft tissue separation showed also promising results in the first in vivo pig study. Conclusions: The feasibility of dual-energy imaging using a fast kV-switching method on an angiographic C-arm CT system was investigated. Direct measurements of beam quality in the x-ray field demonstrate the stability of the kV-switching method. Phantom and in vivo experiments showed that images did not deviate from those of corresponding kV-constant scans. All performed experiments confirmed the capability of performing fast kV-switching scans on a clinically available C-arm CT system. More complex material decomposition tasks and postprocessing steps will be part of future investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5537-5546
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Association of Physicists in Medicine.


  • C-arm CT
  • cone-beam CT (CBCT)
  • dual-energy
  • rapid kV-switching


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