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J Applied Clin Med Phys - 2024 - Tsalafoutas - The impact of automatic tube current modulation related settings of a modern (1).pdf (12.33 MB)

The impact of automatic tube current modulation related settings of a modern GE CT scanner on image quality and patient dose; details do matter

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submitted on 2024-05-16, 08:12 and posted on 2024-05-16, 08:14 authored by Ioannis A. Tsalafoutas, Shady AlKhazzam, Mohammed Hassan Kharita

Purpose

To investigate the operation principles of the automatic tube current modulation (ATCM) of a modern GE healthcare CT scanner, and the impact of related settings on image quality and patient dose.

Material & Methods

A dedicated phantom (Mercury 4.0) was scanned using two of the most frequently used clinical scanning protocols (chest and abdomen‐pelvis). The preset protocol settings were used as starting points (reference conditions). Scan direction, scan mode (helical vs. axial), total beam width, tube potential (kVp), and ATCM settings were then modified individually to understand their impact on radiation dose and image quality. Regarding the ATCM settings, the SmartmA minimum and maximum mA limits, and the noise index (NI) values were varied. As surrogates of patient dose, the CTDIvol and DLP values of each scan were used. As surrogates of image quality were used the image noise and the detectability index (d’) of five different materials (air, solid water, polystyrene, iodine, and bone) embedded in the Mercury phantom calculated with the ImQuest software.

Results

The scanning direction did not have any effect on ATCM curves, unlike what has been observed in CT scanners from other manufacturers. Total beam width does matter, however, the SmartmA limit settings and kVp selection had the greatest impact on image quality and dose. It was seen that improper minimum mA limit settings practically invalidated the ATCM operation. In contrast, when full modulation was allowed without restrictions, noise standard deviation, and detectability index became much more consistent across the wide range of phantom diameters. For lower kVp settings an impressive dose reduction was observed that requires further investigation.

Conclusion

SmartmA is a tool that if not properly used may increase the patient doses considerably. Therefore, its settings should be carefully adjusted for each preset different clinical protocol.

Other Information

Published in: Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
See article on publisher's website: https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acm2.14356

Funding

Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

Wiley

Publication Year

  • 2024

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Medical Corporation

Methodology

A dedicated phantom (Mercury 4.0) was scanned using two of the most frequently used clinical scanning protocols (chest and abdomen‐pelvis). The preset protocol settings were used as starting points (reference conditions). Scan direction, scan mode (helical vs. axial), total beam width, tube potential (kVp), and ATCM settings were then modified individually to understand their impact on radiation dose and image quality. Regarding the ATCM settings, the SmartmA minimum and maximum mA limits, and the noise index (NI) values were varied. As surrogates of patient dose, the CTDIvol and DLP values of each scan were used. As surrogates of image quality were used the image noise and the detectability index (d’) of five different materials (air, solid water, polystyrene, iodine, and bone) embedded in the Mercury phantom calculated with the ImQuest software.

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