ABSTRACT: Radiation exposure from computed tomography (CT) to the public has increased the concern among radiation protection professionals. Being able to accurately assess the radiation dose patients receive during CT procedures is a crucial step in the management of CT dose. Currently, various computational anthropomorphic phantoms are used to assess radiation dose by different research groups. It is desirable to better understand how the dose results are affected by different choices of phantoms. In this study, the authors assessed the uncertainties in CT dose and risk estimation associated with different types of computational phantoms for a selected group of representative CT protocols.
Routinely used CT examinations were categorized into ten body and three neurological examination categories. Organ doses, effective doses, risk indices, and conversion coefficients to effective dose and risk index (k and q factors, respectively) were estimated for these examinations for a clinical CT system (LightSpeed VCT, GE Healthcare). Four methods were used, each employing a different type of reference phantoms. The first and second methods employed a Monte Carlo program previously developed and validated in our laboratory. In the first method, the reference male and female extended cardiac-torso (XCAT) phantoms were used, which were initially created from the Visible Human data and later adjusted to match organ masses defined in ICRP publication 89. In the second method, the reference male and female phantoms described in ICRP publication 110 were used, which were initially developed from tomographic data of two patients and later modified to match ICRP 89 organ masses. The third method employed a commercial dosimetry spreadsheet (ImPACT group, London, England) with its own hermaphrodite stylized phantom. In the fourth method, another widely used dosimetry spreadsheet (CT-Expo, Medizinische Hochschule, Hannover, Germany) was employed together with its associated male and female stylized phantoms.
For fully irradiated organs, average coefficients of variation (COV) ranged from 0.07 to 0.22 across the four male phantoms and from 0.06 to 0.18 across the four female phantoms; for partially irradiated organs, average COV ranged from 0.13 to 0.30 across the four male phantoms and from 0.15 to 0.30 across the four female phantoms. Doses to the testes, breasts, and esophagus showed large variations between phantoms. COV for gender-averaged effective dose and k factor ranged from 0.03 to 0.23 and from 0.06 to 0.30, respectively. COV for male risk index and q factor ranged from 0.06 to 0.30 and from 0.05 to 0.36, respectively; COV for female risk index and q factor ranged from 0.06 to 0.49 and from 0.07 to 0.54, respectively.
Despite closely matched organ mass, total body weight, and height, large differences in organ dose exist due to variation in organ location, spatial distribution, and dose approximation method. Dose differences for fully irradiated radiosensitive organs were much smaller than those for partially irradiated organs. Weighted dosimetry quantities including effective dose, male risk indices, k factors, and male q factors agreed well across phantoms. The female risk indices and q factors varied considerably across phantoms.
Medical Physics 06/2012; 39(6):3404-23. · 2.83 Impact Factor