SU-E-I-91: Reproducibility in Prescribed Dose in AEC CT Scans Due to Table Height, Patient Size, and Localizer Acquisition Order

Authors


Abstract

Purpose:

In CT scanners, the automatic exposure control (AEC) tube current prescription depends on the acquired prescan localizer image(s). The purpose of this study was to quantify the effect that table height, patient size, and localizer acquisition order may have on the reproducibility in prescribed dose.

Methods:

Three phantoms were used for this study: the Mercury Phantom (comprises three tapered and four uniform regions of polyethylene 16, 23, 30, and 37 cm in diameter), acrylic sheets, and an adult anthropomorphic phantom. Phantoms were positioned per clinical protocol by our chief CT technologist or broader symmetry. Using a GE Discovery CT750HD scanner, a lateral (LAT) and posterior-anterior (PA) localizer was acquired for each phantom at different table heights. AEC scan acquisitions were prescribed for each combination of phantom, localizer orientation, and table height; the displayed volume CTDI was recorded for each. Results were analyzed versus table height.

Results:

For the two largest Mercury Phantom section scans based on the PA localizer, the percent change in volume CTDI from ideal were at least 20% lower and 35% greater for table heights 4 cm above and 4 cm below proper centering, respectively. For scans based on the LAT localizer, the percent change in volume CTDI from ideal were no greater than 12% different for 4 cm differences in table height. The properly centered PA and LAT localizer-based volume CTDI values were within 13% of each other.

Conclusion:

Since uncertainty in vertical patient positioning is inherently greater than lateral positioning and because the variability in dose exceeds any dose penalties incurred, the LAT localizer should be used to precisely and reproducibly deliver the intended amount of radiation prescribed by CT protocols. CT protocols can be adjusted to minimize the expected change in average patient dose.

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