The relevance of image quality indices for dose optimization in abdominal multi-detector row CT in children: experimental assessment with pediatric phantoms.Phys Med Biol. 2009 Apr 07; 54(7):1871-92.PM
This study assessed and compared various image quality indices in order to manage the dose of pediatric abdominal MDCT protocols and to provide guidance on dose reduction. PMMA phantoms representing average body diameters at birth, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and 15 years of age were scanned in a four-channel MDCT with a standard pediatric abdominal CT protocol. Image noise (SD, standard deviation of CT number), noise derivative (ND, derivative of the function of noise with respect to dose) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) were measured. The 'relative' low-contrast detectability (rLCD) was introduced as a new quantity to adjust LCD to the various phantom diameters on the basis of the LCD(1%) assessed in a Catphan phantom and a constant central absorbed dose. The required variations of CTDIvol(16) with respect to phantom size were analyzed in order to maintain each image quality index constant. The use of a fixed SD or CNR level leads to major dose ratios between extreme patient sizes (factor 22.7 to 44 for SD, 31.7 to 51.5 for CNR(2.8%)), whereas fixed ND and rLCD result in acceptable dose ratios ranging between factors of 2.9 and 3.9 between extreme phantom diameters. For a 5-9 mm rLCD1(%), adjusted ND values range between -0.84 and -0.11 HU mGy(-1). Our data provide guidance on dose reduction on the basis of patient dimensions and the required rLCD (e.g., to get a constant 7 mm rLCD(1%) for abdominal diameters of 10, 13, 16, 20 and 25 cm, tube current-time product should be adjusted in order to obtain CTDIvol(16) values of 6.2, 7.2, 8.8, 11.6 and 17.7 mGy, respectively).