Adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction reduces patient radiation dose in neuroradiology CT studies



Adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction (ASIR) can decrease image noise, thereby generating CT images of comparable diagnostic quality with less radiation. The purpose of this study is to quantify the effect of systematic use of ASIR versus filtered back projection (FBP) for neuroradiology CT protocols on patients’ radiation dose and image quality.


We evaluated the effect of ASIR on six types of neuroradiologic CT studies: adult and pediatric unenhanced head CT, adult cervical spine CT, adult cervical and intracranial CT angiography, adult soft tissue neck CT with contrast, and adult lumbar spine CT. For each type of CT study, two groups of 100 consecutive studies were retrospectively reviewed: 100 studies performed with FBP and 100 studies performed with ASIR/FBP blending factor of 40 %/60 % with appropriate noise indices. The weighted volume CT dose index (CTDIvol), dose–length product (DLP) and noise were recorded. Each study was also reviewed for image quality by two reviewers. Continuous and categorical variables were compared by t test and free permutation test, respectively.


For adult unenhanced brain CT, CT cervical myelography, cervical and intracranial CT angiography and lumbar spine CT both CTDIvol and DLP were lowered by up to 10.9 % (p < 0.001), 17.9 % (p = 0.005), 20.9 % (p < 0.001), and 21.7 % (p = 0.001), respectively, by using ASIR compared with FBP alone. Image quality and noise were similar for both FBP and ASIR.


We recommend routine use of iterative reconstruction for neuroradiology CT examinations because this approach affords a significant dose reduction while preserving image quality.

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Fig. 1



Adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction

CTDIvol :

Weighted volume CT dose index


Dose–length product


Filtered back projection


Noise index


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This project was supported by a research grant from GE Healthcare.

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Max Wintermark.

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Komlosi, P., Zhang, Y., Leiva-Salinas, C. et al. Adaptive statistical iterative reconstruction reduces patient radiation dose in neuroradiology CT studies. Neuroradiology 56, 187–193 (2014).

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  • Computer tomography
  • Iterative reconstruction
  • Image quality
  • Radiation dose
  • Neuroradiology