Development and implementation of an ultralow-dose CT protocol for the assessment of cerebrospinal shunts in adult hydrocephalus

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Ryan, David J.
Kavanagh, Richard G.
Joyce, Stella
O'Callaghan Maher, Mika
Moore, Niamh
McMahon, Aisling
Hussey, Deirdre
O'Sullivan, Michael G. J.
Wyse, Gerald
Fanning, Noel
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Background: Cerebrospinal fluid shunts in the treatment of hydrocephalus, although associated with clinical benefit, have a high failure rate with repeat computed tomography (CT) imaging resulting in a substantial cumulative radiation dose. Therefore, we sought to develop a whole-body ultralow-dose (ULD) CT protocol for the investigation of shunt malfunction and compare it with the reference standard, plain radiographic shunt series (PRSS). Methods: Following ethical approval, using an anthropomorphic phantom and a human cadaveric ventriculoperitoneal shunt model, a whole-body ULD-CT protocol incorporating two iterative reconstruction (IR) algorithms, pure IR and hybrid IR, including 60% filtered back projection and 40% IR was evaluated in 18 adult patients post new shunt implantation or where shunt malfunction was suspected. Effective dose (ED) and image quality were analysed. Results: ULD-CT permitted a 36% radiation dose reduction (median ED 0.16 mSv, range 0.07–0.17, versus 0.25 mSv (0.06–1.69 mSv) for PRSS (p = 0.002). Shunt visualisation in the thoracoabdominal cavities was improved with ULD-CT with pure IR (p = 0.004 and p = 0.031, respectively) and, in contrast to PRSS, permitted visualisation of the entire shunt course (p < 0.001), the distal shunt entry point and location of the shunt tip in all cases. For shunt complications, ULD-CT had a perfect specificity. False positives (3/22, 13.6%) were observed with PRSS. Conclusions: At a significantly reduced radiation dose, whole body ULD-CT with pure IR demonstrated diagnostic superiority over PRSS in the evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid shunt malfunction.
CT , VP shunt , Low dose CT , Adult , Cerebrospinal fluid shunts , Hydrocephalus , Radiation dosage , Tomography (x-ray, computed)
Ryan, D. J., Kavanagh, R. G., Joyce, S., O’Callaghan Maher, M., Moore, N., McMahon, A., Hussey, D., O’Sullivan, M. G. J., Wyse, G., Fanning, N., O’Connor, O. J. and Maher, M. M. (2021) 'Development and implementation of an ultralow-dose CT protocol for the assessment of cerebrospinal shunts in adult hydrocephalus', European Radiology Experimental, 5(1), 26 (15 pp). doi: 10.1186/s41747-021-00222-4