Vertebral Compression Fractures: Third-Generation Dual-Energy CT for Detection of Bone Marrow Edema at Visual and Quantitative Analyses

posted by dsct.com | Sep 7, 2017


To assess the diagnostic performance of a third-generation dual-energy computed tomographic (CT) virtual noncalcium (VNCa) technique for detection of traumatic bone marrow edema in patients with vertebral compression fractures.

Material and Methods

This prospective study was approved by the institutional review board. Informed consent was obtained from all participants. Twenty-two consecutive patients with 37 morphologic vertebral fractures were studied between October 2015 and May 2016. All patients underwent dual-energy CT (90 kV and 150 kV with a tin filter) and 3-T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Two independent readers visually evaluated all vertebral bodies (n = 163) for the presence of abnormal bone marrow attenuation on VNCa images by using color-coded maps and performed a quantitative analysis of CT numbers on VNCa images. MR images served as the reference standard. CT numbers were subjected to receiver operating characteristic analysis to calculate cutoff values.


In the visual analysis, VNCa images had an overall sensitivity of 64.0%, specificity of 99.3%, accuracy of 93.9%, positive predictive value of 94.1%, and negative predictive value of 93.8%. The interobserver agreement was excellent (κ = 0.85). CT numbers obtained from VNCa images were significantly different in vertebral bodies with and without edema (P < .001). Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed an area under the curve of 0.922. A cutoff value of -47 provided sensitivity of 92.0%, specificity of 82.6%, accuracy of 84.0%, positive predictive value of 48.9%, and negative predictive value of 98.3% for the differentiation of edematous vertebral bodies.


Visual and quantitative analyses of dual-energy VNCa images showed excellent diagnostic performance for assessing traumatic bone marrow edema in vertebral compression fractures.


Authors: Petritsch B, Kosmala A, Weng AM, Krauss B, Heidemeier A, Wagner R, Heintel TM, Gassenmaier T, Bley TA.

Full text available at: Radiology. 2017 Feb 27:162165.

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