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Bone Mineral Density Quantification from Localizer Radiographs: Accuracy and Precision of Energy-integrating Detector CT and Photon-counting Detector CT

Tristan Nowak 1Matthias Eberhard 1Bernhard Schmidt 1Diana Frey 1Oliver Distler 1Natalia Saltybaeva 1Hatem Alkadhi 1André Euler 1

Radiology doi: 10.1148/radiol.2020202767. 


Background Bone mineral density (BMD) could be derived from CT localizer radiographs and could potentially enable opportunistic osteoporosis screening. Purpose To assess the accuracy and precision of BMD measurement using two localizer radiographs obtained with energy-integrating detector CT and a single localizer radiograph obtained with photon-counting detector CT. Materials and Methods A calibration phantom and a porcine phantom with lumbar vertebrae were imaged with a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanner, a clinical energy-integrating detector CT scanner, and a prototype photon-counting detector CT scanner. Two localizer radiographs at different combinations of tube voltages were obtained with energy-integrating detector CT, and one localizer radiograph was obtained with photon-counting detector CT using different energy thresholds. BMD was calculated for all three approaches and compared with the known specifications in the calibration phantom. In the animal phantom, BMDs from both CT systems were compared with those from the DXA scanner (the reference standard). Accuracy was defined as the measurement error of BMD (ΔBMD), and precision was defined as the coefficient of variation (in percentage). Radiation doses were estimated. Nonparametric tests were applied. Results In the calibration phantom, ΔBMD was smaller with both CT systems compared with the DXA scanner (both P < .05). ΔBMD ranged from -5% to -1.8% for DXA, from -2.3% to -1.7% for energy-integrating detector CT, and from -1.6% to 1.6% for photon-counting detector CT. Precision (range, 0.3%-2.8%) was high for both CT systems. In the animal phantom, ΔBMD ranged from -0.6% to 0.1% for energy-integrating detector CT and from -0.1% to 0.6% for photon-counting detector CT, with no significant differences between CT systems (P = .65). The dose-area product in the animal phantom was 4.6 cGy ∙ cm2 for DXA, 3.5-11.5 cGy ∙ cm2 for energy-integrating detector CT, and 7.2-11.2 cGy ∙ cm2 for photon-counting detector CT, depending on tube voltage and energy threshold combination. Conclusion Experimental evidence suggests that bone mineral density measurements are accurate and precise using two localizer radiographs at different tube voltages from energy-integrating detector CT and a single localizer radiograph with different energy thresholds from photon-counting detector CT. © RSNA, 2020 Online supplemental material is available for this article. See also the editorial by Pourmorteza in this issue.