Abdominal Imaging

, Volume 40, Issue 7, pp 2152–2158 | Cite as

Low-tube voltage 100 kVp MDCT in screening of cocaine body packing: image quality and radiation dose compared to 120 kVp MDCT

  • Joel AissaEmail author
  • Christian Rubbert
  • Johannes Boos
  • Christoph Schleich
  • Christoph Thomas
  • Patric Kröpil
  • Gerald Antoch
  • Falk Miese
Original Article



The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a reduced tube potential (100 kVp) for non-enhanced abdominal low-dose CT on radiation dose and image quality (IQ) in the detection of body packing.


This retrospective study was approved by the local research ethics committee of our clinic. From March 2012 to July 2014, 99 subjects were referred to our institute with suspected body packing. 50 CT scans were performed using a 120 kVp protocol (group A), and 49 CTs were performed using a low-dose protocol with a tube voltage of 100 kVp (group B). Subjective and objective IQ were assessed. DLP and CTDIvol were analyzed.


All examinations were of diagnostic IQ. Objective IQ was not significantly different between the 120 kVp and 100 kVp protocol. Mean density of solid and liquid body packets was 210 ± 60.2 HU at 120 kVp and 250.6 ± 29.7 HU at 100 kVp. Radiation dose was significantly lower in group B as compared to group A (p < 0.05). In group A, body packs were detected in 16 (32%) of the 50 patients. In group B, packets were observed in 15 (31%) of 49 patients. Laboratory analysis detected cocaine in all smuggled body packs.


Low-tube voltage 100 kVp MDCT with automated tube current modulation in screening of illegal drugs leads to a diagnostic IQ and significant dose reduction compared to 120 kVp low-tube voltage protocols. Despite lower radiation dose, liquid and solid cocaine containers retain high attenuation and are easily detected.


Body packing Cocaine CT Acute abdominal Localizer Dose reduction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joel Aissa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christian Rubbert
    • 1
  • Johannes Boos
    • 1
  • Christoph Schleich
    • 1
  • Christoph Thomas
    • 1
  • Patric Kröpil
    • 1
  • Gerald Antoch
    • 1
  • Falk Miese
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Medical FacultyUniversity DusseldorfDusseldorfGermany

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