OBJECTIVE: The technical feasibility of virtual noncontrast (VNC) images from dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) for the detection of the hyperdense artery sign (HAS) in ischemic stroke patients was investigated.
METHODS: True noncontrast (TNC) scans of 60 patients either with or without HAS (n = 30 each) were investigated. Clot presence and characteristics were assessed on VNC images from DECT angiography and compared with TNC images. Clot characterization included the level of confidence for diagnosing HAS, a qualitative clot burden score, and quantitative attenuation (Hounsfield unit [HU]) measurements.
RESULTS: Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of VNC for diagnosing HAS were 97%, 90%, and 93%, respectively. No significant differences were found regarding the diagnostic confidence (P = 0.18) and clot burden score (P = 0.071). No significant HU differences were found among vessels with HAS in VNC (56 ± 7HU) and TNC (57 ± 8HU) (P = 0.691) images.
CONCLUSIONS: Virtual noncontrast images derived from DECT enable an accurate detection and characterization of HAS.