Estimation of radiation exposure in low-dose multislice computed tomography of the heart and comparison with a calculation program

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the achievable organ dose savings in low-dose multislice computed tomography (MSCT) of the heart using different tube voltages (80 kVp, 100 kVp, 120 kVp) and compare it with calculated values. A female Alderson-Rando phantom was equipped with thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) in five different positions to assess the mean doses within representative organs (thyroid gland, thymus, oesophagus, pancreas, liver). Radiation exposure was performed on a 16-row MSCT scanner with six different routine scan protocols: a 120-kV and a 100-kV CT angiography (CTA) protocol with the same collimation, two 120-kV Ca-scoring (CS) protocols with different collimations and two 80-kV CS protocols with the same collimation as the 120-kV CS protocols. Each scan protocol was repeated five times. The measured dose values for the organs were compared with the values calculated by a commercially available computer program. Directly irradiated organs, such as the esophagus, received doses of 34.7 mSv (CTA 16×0.75 120 kVp), 21.9 mSv (CTA 16×0.75 100 kVp) and 4.96 mSv (CS score 12×1.5 80 kVp), the thyroid as an organ receiving only scattered radiation collected organ doses of 2.98 mSv (CTA 16×0.75 120 kVp), 1.97 mSv (CTA 16×0.75 100 kVp) and 0.58 mSv (CS score 12×1.5 80 kVp). The measured relative organ dose reductions from standard to low-kV protocols ranged from 30.9% to 55.9% and were statistically significant (P<0.05). The comparison with the calculated organ doses showed that the calculation program can predict the relative dose reduction of cardiac low photon-energy protocols precisely.

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