Evaluation of low-contrast detectability for iterative reconstruction in pediatric abdominal computed tomography: a phantom study
Iterative reconstruction is offered by all vendors to achieve similar or better CT image quality at lower doses than images reconstructed with filtered back-projection.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the dose-reduction potential for pediatric abdominal CT imaging when using either a commercially available hybrid or a commercially available model-based iterative reconstruction algorithm from a single manufacturer.
Materials and methods
A phantom containing four low-contrast inserts and a uniform background with total attenuation equivalent to the abdomen of an average 8-year-old child was imaged on a CT scanner (IQon; Philips Healthcare, Cleveland, OH). We reconstructed images using both hybrid iterative reconstruction (iDose4) and model-based iterative reconstruction (Iterative Model Reconstruction). The four low-contrast inserts had circular cross-section with diameters of 3 mm, 5 mm, 7 mm and 10 mm and contrasts of 14 Hounsfield units (HU), 7 HU, 5 HU and 3 HU, respectively. Helical scans with identical kilovoltage (kV), pitch, rotation time, and collimation were repeated on the phantom at volume CT dose index (CTDIvol) of 2.0 milligrays (mGy), 3.0 mGy, 4.5 mGy and 6.0 mGy. We measured the contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) in each rod across scans. Additionally, we collected sub-images containing each rod and sub-images containing the background and used them in two-alternative forced choice observer experiments with four observers (two radiologists and two physicists). We calculated the dose-reduction potential of both iterative reconstruction algorithms relative to a scan performed at 6 mGy and reconstructed with filtered back-projection.
We calculated dose-reduction potential by either matching average equal observer performance in the two-alternative forced choice experiments or matching CNR. When matching CNR, the dose-reduction potential was 34% to 45% for hybrid iterative reconstruction and 89% to 95% for model-based iterative reconstruction. When matching average observer performance, the dose-reduction potential was 9% to 30% for hybrid iterative reconstruction and 57% to 74% for model-based iterative reconstruction. The range in dose-reduction potential depended on the rod size and contrast level.
Observer performance in this phantom study indicates that the dose-reduction potential indicated by an observer study is less than that of CNR; extrapolating the results to clinical studies suggests that the dose-reduction potential would also be less.
KeywordsChildren Computed tomography Dose reduction Iterative reconstruction Low-contrast detectability Phantom
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
Richard Southard has a financial relationship with Koninklijke Philips NV that includes a master enterprise agreement as a consultant, work with the speaker’s bureau and receipt of honoraria for his services.
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