Patient-specific CT dosimetry calculation: a feasibility study

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Current estimation of radiation dose from computed tomography (CT) scans on patients has relied on the measurement of Computed Tomography Dose Index (CTDI) in standard cylindrical phantoms, and calculations based on mathematical representations of “standard man”. Radiation dose to both adult and pediatric patients from a CT scan has been a concern, as noted in recent reports. The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of adapting a radiation treatment planning system (RTPS) to provide patient-specific CT dosimetry. A radiation treatment planning system was modified to calculate patient-specific CT dose distributions, which can be represented by dose at specific points within an organ of interest, as well as organ dose-volumes (after image segmentation) for a GE Light Speed Ultra Plus CT scanner. The RTPS calculation algorithm is based on a semi-empirical, measured correction-based algorithm, which has been well established in the radiotherapy community. Digital representations of the physical phantoms (virtual phantom) were acquired with the GE CT scanner in axial mode. Thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLDs) measurements in pediatric anthropomorphic phantoms were utilized to validate the dose at specific points within organs of interest relative to RTPS calculations and Monte Carlo simulations of the same virtual phantoms (digital representation). Congruence of the calculated and measured point doses for the same physical anthropomorphic phantom geometry was used to verify the feasibility of the method. The RTPS algorithm can be extended to calculate the organ dose by calculating a dose distribution point-by-point for a designated volume. Electron Gamma Shower (EGSnrc) codes for radiation transport calculations developed by National Research Council of Canada (NRCC) were utilized to perform the Monte Carlo (MC) simulation. In general, the RTPS and MC dose calculations are within 10% of the TLD measurements for the infant and child chest scans. With respect to the dose comparisons for the head, the RTPS dose calculations are slightly higher (10%–20%) than the TLD measurements, while the MC results were within 10% of the TLD measurements. The advantage of the algebraic dose calculation engine of the RTPS is a substantially reduced computation time (minutes vs. days) relative to Monte Carlo calculations, as well as providing patient-specific dose estimation. It also provides the basis for a more elaborate reporting of dosimetric results, such as patient specific organ dose volumes after image segmentation.

PACS numbers: 87.55.D-, 87.57.Q-, 87.53.Bn, 87.55.K-

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