Dose reduction in CT examination of children by an attenuation-based on-line modulation of tube current (CARE Dose)
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In a controlled patient study we investigated the potential of attenuation-based on-line modulation of the tube current to reduce milliampere values (mAs) in CT examinations of children without loss of image quality. mAs can be reduced for non-circular patient cross sections without an increase in noise if tube current is reduced at those angular positions where the patient diameter and, consequently, attenuation are small. We investigated a technical approach with an attenuation-based on-line control for the tube current realised as a work-in-progress implementation. The CT projection data are analysed in real time to determine optimal mAs values for each projection angle. We evaluated mAs reduction for 100 spiral CT examinations with attenuation-based on-line modulation of the tube current in a group of children. Two radiologists evaluated image quality by visual interpretation in consensus. We compared the mAs values read from the CT scanner with preset mAs of a standard protocol. Four different scan regions were examined in spiral technique (neck, thorax, abdomen, thorax and abdomen). We found the mAs product to be reduced typically by 10–60% depending on patient geometry and anatomical regions. The mean reduction was 22.3% (neck 20%, thorax 23%, abdomen 23%, thorax and abdomen 22%). In general, no deterioration of image quality was observed. There was no correlation between the age and the mean mAs reduction in the different anatomical regions. By classifying the children respectively to their weight, there is a positive trend between increasing weight and mAs reduction. We conclude that mAs in spiral CT examinations of children can be reduced substantially by attenuation-based on-line modulation of the tube current without deterioration of image quality. Attenuation-based on-line modulation of tube current is efficient and practical for reducing dose exposure to children.