Objectives: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the value of dual-energy CT (DECT) with virtual non-calcium (VNCa) in quantitatively assessing the presence of bone marrow edema (BME) in patients with diabetic foot ulcers and suspected osteomyelitis. Methods: Patients with a diabetic foot ulcer and suspected osteomyelitis that underwent DECT (80 kVp/Sn150 kVp) with VNCa were retrospectively included. Two observers independently measured CT values of the bone adjacent to the ulcer and a reference bone not related to the ulcer. The patients were divided into two clinical groups, osteomyelitis or no-osteomyelitis, based on the final diagnosis by the treating physicians. Results: A total of 56 foot ulcers were identified of which 23 were included in the osteomyelitis group. The mean CT value at the ulcer location was significantly higher in the osteomyelitis group (− 17.23 ± 34.96 HU) compared to the no-osteomyelitis group (− 69.34 ± 49.40 HU; p < 0.001). Within the osteomyelitis group, the difference between affected bone and reference bone was statistically significant (p < 0.001), which was not the case in the group without osteomyelitis (p = 0.052). The observer agreement was good for affected bone measurements (ICC = 0.858) and moderate for reference bone measurements (ICC = 0.675). With a cut-off value of − 40.1 HU, sensitivity was 87.0%, specificity was 72.7%, PPV was 69.0%, and NPV was 88.9%. Conclusion: DECT with VNCa has a potential value for quantitatively assessing the presence of BME in patients with diabetic foot ulcers and suspected osteomyelitis. Key Points: • Dual-energy CT (DECT) with virtual non-calcium (VNCa) is promising for detecting bone marrow edema in the case of diabetic foot ulcers with suspected osteomyelitis. • DECT with VNCa has the potential to become a more practical alternative to MRI in assessing the presence of bone marrow edema in suspected osteomyelitis when radiographs are not sufficient to form a diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5645-5652
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number8
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Bone marrow
  • Diabetic foot
  • Edema
  • Osteomyelitis
  • X-ray computed tomography

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