Patient-specific radiation risk-based tube current modulation for diagnostic CT

Klein L, Liu C, Steidel J, Enzmann L, Knaup M, Sawall S, Maier A, Lell M, Maier J, Kachelriess M (2022)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2022


DOI: 10.1002/mp.15673


Purpose Modern CT scanners use automatic exposure control (AEC) techniques, such as tube current modulation (TCM), to reduce dose delivered to patients while maintaining image quality. In contrast to conventional approaches that minimize the tube current time product of the CT scan, referred to as mAsTCM in the following, we herein propose a new method referred to as riskTCM, which aims at reducing the radiation risk to the patient by taking into account the specific radiation risk of every dose-sensitive organ. Methods For current mAsTCM implementations, the mAs product is used as a surrogate for the patient dose. Thus, they do not take into account the varying dose sensitivity of different organs. Our riskTCM framework assumes that a coarse CT reconstruction, an organ segmentation, and an estimation of the dose distribution can be provided in real time, for example, by applying machine learning techniques. Using this information, riskTCM determines a tube current curve that minimizes a patient risk measure, for example, the effective dose, while keeping the image quality constant. We retrospectively applied riskTCM to 20 patients covering all relevant anatomical regions and tube voltages from 70 to 150 kV. The potential reduction of effective dose at same image noise is evaluated as a figure of merit and compared to mAsTCM and to a situation with a constant tube current referred to as noTCM. Results Anatomical regions like the neck, thorax, abdomen, and the pelvis benefit from the proposed riskTCM. On average, a reduction of effective dose of about 23% for the thorax, 31% for the abdomen, 24% for the pelvis, and 27% for the neck has been evaluated compared to today's state-of-the-art mAsTCM. For the head, the resulting reduction of effective dose is lower, about 13% on average compared to mAsTCM. Conclusions With a risk-minimizing TCM, significant higher reduction of effective dose compared to mAs-minimizing TCM is possible.

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Klein, L., Liu, C., Steidel, J., Enzmann, L., Knaup, M., Sawall, S.,... Kachelriess, M. (2022). Patient-specific radiation risk-based tube current modulation for diagnostic CT. Medical Physics.


Klein, Laura, et al. "Patient-specific radiation risk-based tube current modulation for diagnostic CT." Medical Physics (2022).

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