Dose reduction in CT urography and vasculature phantom studies using model-based iterative reconstruction

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Abstract

To evaluate the feasibility of radiation dose reduction using model-based iterative reconstruction (MBIR) for evaluating the ureters and vasculature in a phantom, a tissue-equivalent CT dose phantom was scanned using a 64-channel CT scanner. Tubes of varying diameters filled with different dilutions of a contrast agent, simulating ureters or vessels, were inserted into the center of the phantom. Each combination was scanned using an existing renal protocol at 140 kVp or 120 kVp, yielding a display volumetric CT dose index (Symbol) of 24 mGy. The scans were repeated using reduced scan techniques to achieve lower radiation doses down to 0.8 mGy. The images were reconstructed using filtered back-projection (FBP) and model-based iterative reconstruction (MBIR). The noise and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) was measured for each contrast object. Comparisons between the two reconstruction methods at different dose levels were evaluated using a factorial design. At each Symbol the measured image noise was lower using MBIR compared to FBP (Symbol). At low doses, the percent change in measured image noise between FBP and MBIR was larger. For the 12 mm object simulating a ureter or large vessel with an HU of 600, the measured CNR using MBIR at a Symbol of 1.7 mGy was greater than the CNR of FBP at a Symbol of 24 mGy (Symbol). For the 5 mm object simulating a medium-sized vessel with a HU of 250, the measured CNR using MBIR at a Symbol of 1.7 mGy was equivalent to that of FBP at a Symbol of 24 mGy. For the 2 mm, 100 HU object simulating a small vessel, the measured CNR using MBIR at a Symbol of 1.7 mGy was equivalent to that of FBP at a Symbol of 24 mGy. Low-dose (3.6 mGy) CT imaging of vasculature and ureter phantoms using MBIR results in similar noise and CNR compared to FBP at approximately one-sixth the dose. This suggests that, using MBIR, a one milliSievert exam of the ureters and vasculature may be clinically possible whilst still maintaining adequate image quality

PACS number(s): 87.57.-s, 87.57.Q-, 87.57.C-, 87.57.nf, 87.57.cj, 87.57.cm

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