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Title: Utilizing a simple CT dosimetry phantom for the comprehension of the operational characteristics of CT AEC systems

Purpose: To investigate the utility of the nested polymethylacrylate (PMMA) phantom (which is available in many CT facilities for CTDI measurements), as a tool for the presentation and comparison of the ways that two different CT automatic exposure control (AEC) systems respond to a phantom when various scan parameters and AEC protocols are modified.Methods: By offsetting the two phantom's components (the head phantom and the body ring) half-way along their longitudinal axis, a phantom with three sections of different x-ray attenuation was created. Scan projection radiographs (SPRs) and helical scans of the three-section phantom were performed on a Toshiba Aquilion 64 and a Philips Brilliance 64 CT scanners, with different scan parameter selections [scan direction, pitch factor, slice thickness, and reconstruction interval (ST/RI), AEC protocol, and tube potential used for the SPRs]. The dose length product (DLP) values of each scan were recorded and the tube current (mA) values of the reconstructed CT images were plotted against the respective Z-axis positions on the phantom. Furthermore, measurements of the noise levels at the center of each phantom section were performed to assess the impact of mA modulation on image quality.Results: The mA modulation patterns of the two CT scanners were verymore » dissimilar. The mA variations were more pronounced for Aquilion 64, where changes in any of the aforementioned scan parameters affected both the mA modulations curves and DLP values. However, the noise levels were affected only by changes in pitch, ST/RI, and AEC protocol selections. For Brilliance 64, changes in pitch affected the mA modulation curves but not the DLP values, whereas only AEC protocol and SPR tube potential selection variations affected both the mA modulation curves and DLP values. The noise levels increased for smaller ST/RI, larger weight category AEC protocol, and larger SPR tube potential selection.Conclusions: The nested PMMA dosimetry phantom can be effectively utilized for the comprehension of CT AEC systems performance and the way that different scan conditions affect the mA modulation patterns, DLP values, and image noise. However, in depth analysis of the reasons why these two systems exhibited such different behaviors in response to the same phantom requires further investigation which is beyond the scope of this study.« less
Authors:
 [1] ; ; ;  [2]
  1. Medical Physics Department, Anticancer-Oncology Hospital of Athens “Agios Savvas,” 171 Alexandras Avenue, 115 22 Athens (Greece)
  2. Second Department of Radiology, Medical School, University of Athens, University General Hospital, “Attikon,” Rimini 1, 124 62 Athens (Greece)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22220271
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 40; Journal Issue: 11; Other Information: (c) 2013 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
62 RADIOLOGY AND NUCLEAR MEDICINE; 61 RADIATION PROTECTION AND DOSIMETRY; COMPUTERIZED TOMOGRAPHY; DOSIMETRY; IMAGE PROCESSING; IMAGES; PHANTOMS; PMMA; RADIATION DOSES