Background: Knowing the lowest acceptable radiation dose of multiphase hepatic CT may allow us to reduce the radiation dose for detecting HCC. Purpose: To prospectively assess the image quality and diagnostic performance of low-dose and ultra-low-dose multiphase hepatic computed tomography using a dual-source CT scanner. Methods: Three reconstructed different dose scan images (standard-dose, low-dose, and ultra-low-dose) of hepatic multiphase CT were obtained from 67 patients with a dual-source CT scanner. The image quality and the diagnostic performance of the three radiation dose CT scans of the hepatic focal lesion (≥ 0.5 cm) were analyzed by two independent readers using the Liver Imaging Reporting and Data System. Results: Qualitative image quality and signal-to-noise ratio were significantly different among the radiation doses (p < 0.001). In total, 154 lesions comprising 32 hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) and 122 non-HCC were included. The sensitivities of SDCT, LDCT, and ULDCT were 90.6%(29/32), 81.3%(26/32), and 56.2%(18/32), respectively. The accuracies of SDCT, LDCT, and ULDCT were 98.1%(151/154), 96.1%(148/154), and 89.6%(138/154), respectively. On per-lesion analysis, SDCT and LDCT did not show significantly different sensitivity and accuracy in diagnosing HCC (p = 0.250 and 0.250). Conclusions: The diagnostic performance of dynamic hepatic LDCT with 33% reduced radiation dose in comparison to SDCT would be acceptable even though its image quality was qualitatively and quantitatively inferior. However, few HCCs could be overlooked. Therefore, with caution, radiation dose reduction by one-third could be implemented for follow-up CT scans for patients suspected of having HCC with caution and further studies are needed in the future.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Low-dose CT
- Multidetector computed tomography
- Radiation dose
- Ultralow-dose CT