On the use of Monte Carlo-derived dosimetric data in the estimation of patient dose from CT examinations.Med Phys. 2008 May; 35(5):2018-28.MP
The purpose of this work was to investigate the applicability and appropriateness of Monte Carlo-derived normalized data to provide accurate estimations of patient dose from computed tomography (CT) exposures. Monte Carlo methodology and mathematical anthropomorphic phantoms were used to simulate standard patient CT examinations of the head, thorax, abdomen, and trunk performed on a multislice CT scanner. Phantoms were generated to simulate the average adult individual and two individuals with different body sizes. Normalized dose values for all radiosensitive organs and normalized effective dose values were calculated for standard axial and spiral CT examinations. Discrepancies in CT dosimetry using Monte Carlo-derived coefficients originating from the use of: (a) Conversion coefficients derived for axial CT exposures, (b) a mathematical anthropomorphic phantom of standard body size to derive conversion coefficients, and (c) data derived for a specific CT scanner to estimate patient dose from CT examinations performed on a different scanner, were separately evaluated. The percentage differences between the normalized organ dose values derived for contiguous axial scans and the corresponding values derived for spiral scans with pitch = 1 and the same total scanning length were up to 10%, while the corresponding percentage differences in normalized effective dose values were less than 0.7% for all standard CT examinations. The normalized organ dose values for standard spiral CT examinations with pitch 0.5-1.5 were found to differ from the corresponding values derived for contiguous axial scans divided by the pitch, by less than 14% while the corresponding percentage differences in normalized effective dose values were less than 1% for all standard CT examinations. Normalized effective dose values for the standard contiguous axial CT examinations derived by Monte Carlo simulation were found to considerably decrease with increasing body size of the mathematical phantom used. When the body-mass index was increased from 23.0 to 32.7 kg/m2 discrepancies in patient effective dose were up to 34%. The error in estimating effective dose from a CT exposure performed on a specific CT scanner using Monte Carlo data derived for a different CT scanner was estimated to be up to 25%. A simple method was proposed and validated for the determination of scanner-specific normalized dosimetric data from data derived from Monte Carlo simulation of a specific scanner. In conclusion, computed tomography dose index (CTDI) to effective dose conversion coefficients derived by Monte Carlo simulation of axial CT scans may provide a good approximation of corresponding coefficients applicable in helical scans. However, the use of Monte Carlo conversion coefficients for the estimation of patient dose from a CT examination involves a remarkable inaccuracy when the body size of the mathematical anthropomorphic phantom used in Monte Carlo simulation differs from the body of the patient. Therefore, separate sets of Monte Carlo dosimetric CT data shall be generated for different patient body sizes. Besides calculation of different sets of Monte Carlo data for each commercially available scanner is not necessary, since scanner specific data may be derived with acceptable accuracy from the Monte Carlo data calculated for a specific scanner appropriately modified for the different CTDI(W)/CTDI(air) ratio.