Iterative reconstruction (IR) algorithms have the potential to reduce radiation dose in CT diagnostic imaging. As these algorithms become available on the market, a standardizable method of quantifying the dose reduction that a particular IR method can achieve would be valuable. Such a method would assist manufacturers in making promotional claims about dose reduction, buyers in comparing different devices, physicists in independently validating the claims, and the United States Food and Drug Administration in regulating the labeling of CT devices. However, the nonlinear nature of commercially available IR algorithms poses challenges to objectively assessing image quality, a necessary step in establishing the amount of dose reduction that a given IR algorithm can achieve without compromising that image quality. This review paper seeks to consolidate information relevant to objectively assessing the quality of CT IR images, and thereby measuring the level of dose reduction that a given IR algorithm can achieve.Methods:
The authors discuss task-based methods for assessing the quality of CT IR images and evaluating dose reduction.Results:
The authors explain and review recent literature on signal detection and localization tasks in CT IR image quality assessment, the design of an appropriate phantom for these tasks, possible choices of observers (including human and model observers), and methods of evaluating observer performance.Conclusions:
Standardizing the measurement of dose reduction is a problem of broad interest to the CT community and to public health. A necessary step in the process is the objective assessment of CT image quality, for which various task-based methods may be suitable. This paper attempts to consolidate recent literature that is relevant to the development and implementation of task-based methods for the assessment of CT IR image quality.