Optimization of the differentiation and quantification of high-Z nanoparticles incorporated in medical devices for CT-guided interventions

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8 Scopus citations


Purpose: Material differentiation has been made possible using dual-energy computed tomography (DECT), in which the unique, energy-dependent attenuating characteristics of materials can provide new diagnostic information. One promising application is the clinical integration of biodegradable polymers as temporary implantable medical devices impregnated with high-atomic number (high-Z) materials. The purpose of this study was to explore the incorporation of high atomic number (high-Z) contrast materials in a bioresorbable inferior vena cava filter for advanced CT-based monitoring of its location and differentiating from surrounding materials. Materials and methods: Imaging optimization and calibration studies were performed using a body phantom. The dual-energy CT (DECT) ratios for iron, zirconium, barium, gadolinium, ytterbium, tantalum, tungsten, gold, and bismuth were generated for peak kilovoltage combinations of 80/150Sn, 90/150Sn, and 100/150Sn kVp in dual-source CT via linear regression of the CT numbers at low and high energies. A secondary calibration of the material map to the nominal material concentration was generated to correct for use of materials other than iodine. CT number was calibrated to the material concentration based on single-energy CT (SECT) with additional filtration (150Sn kVp). These quantification methods were applied to monitoring of biodegradable inferior vena cava filters (IVCFs) made of braided poly(p-dioxanone) sutures infused with ultrasmall bismuth nanoparticles (BiNPs) implanted in an adult domestic pig. Results: Qualitative material differentiation was optimal for high-Z (>73) contrast agents in DECT. However, quantification became nonlinear and inaccurate as the K-edge of the material increased. Using the high-energy (150Sn kVp) data component as a SECT scan, the linearity of quantification curves was maintained with lower limits of detection than with DECT. Among the materials tested, bismuth had optimal differentiation from iodine in DECT while maintaining increased contrast in high-energy SECT for quantification (11.5% error). Coating the IVCF with BiNPs resulted in markedly greater radiopacity (maximum CT number, 2028 HU) than that of an uncoated IVCF (maximum CT number, 127 HU). Using DECT imaging and processing, the BiNP-IVCF could be clearly differentiated from iodine contrast injected into the inferior vena cava of the pig. Conclusions: These findings may improve widespread integration of medical devices incorporated with high-Z materials into the clinic, where technical success, possible complications, and device integrity can be assessed intraoperatively and postoperatively via DECT imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-312
Number of pages13
JournalMedical physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • dual-energy computed tomography
  • high-Z materials
  • material decomposition
  • nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

MD Anderson CCSG core facilities

  • High Resolution Electron Microscopy Facility
  • Research Animal Support Facility


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