Automatic exposure control systems designed to maintain constant image noise: Effects on computed tomography dose and noise relative to clinically accepted technique charts

Christopher P. Favazza, Lifeng Yu, Shuai Leng, James M. Kofler, Cynthia H McCollough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective To compare computed tomography dose and noise arising from use of an automatic exposure control (AEC) system designed to maintain constant image noise as patient size varies with clinically accepted technique charts and AEC systems designed to vary image noise. Materials and Methods A model was developed to describe tube current modulation as a function of patient thickness. Relative dose and noise values were calculated as patient width varied for AEC settings designed to yield constant or variable noise levels and were compared to empirically derived values used by our clinical practice. Phantom experiments were performed in which tube current was measured as a function of thickness using a constant-noise-based AEC system and the results were compared with clinical technique charts. Results For 12-, 20-, 28-, 44-, and 50-cm patient widths, the requirement of constant noise across patient size yielded relative doses of 5%, 14%, 38%, 260%, and 549% and relative noises of 435%, 267%, 163%, 61%, and 42%, respectively, as compared with our clinically used technique chart settings at each respective width. Experimental measurements showed that a constant noise-based AEC system yielded 175% relative noise for a 30-cm phantom and 206% relative dose for a 40-cm phantom compared with our clinical technique chart. Conclusions Automatic exposure control systems that prescribe constant noise as patient size varies can yield excessive noise in small patients and excessive dose in obese patients compared with clinically accepted technique charts. Use of noise-level technique charts and tube current limits can mitigate these effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-442
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Tomography
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 29 2015

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Noise
Tomography

Keywords

  • automatic exposure control
  • CT
  • image noise
  • image quality
  • radiation dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this

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title = "Automatic exposure control systems designed to maintain constant image noise: Effects on computed tomography dose and noise relative to clinically accepted technique charts",
abstract = "Objective To compare computed tomography dose and noise arising from use of an automatic exposure control (AEC) system designed to maintain constant image noise as patient size varies with clinically accepted technique charts and AEC systems designed to vary image noise. Materials and Methods A model was developed to describe tube current modulation as a function of patient thickness. Relative dose and noise values were calculated as patient width varied for AEC settings designed to yield constant or variable noise levels and were compared to empirically derived values used by our clinical practice. Phantom experiments were performed in which tube current was measured as a function of thickness using a constant-noise-based AEC system and the results were compared with clinical technique charts. Results For 12-, 20-, 28-, 44-, and 50-cm patient widths, the requirement of constant noise across patient size yielded relative doses of 5{\%}, 14{\%}, 38{\%}, 260{\%}, and 549{\%} and relative noises of 435{\%}, 267{\%}, 163{\%}, 61{\%}, and 42{\%}, respectively, as compared with our clinically used technique chart settings at each respective width. Experimental measurements showed that a constant noise-based AEC system yielded 175{\%} relative noise for a 30-cm phantom and 206{\%} relative dose for a 40-cm phantom compared with our clinical technique chart. Conclusions Automatic exposure control systems that prescribe constant noise as patient size varies can yield excessive noise in small patients and excessive dose in obese patients compared with clinically accepted technique charts. Use of noise-level technique charts and tube current limits can mitigate these effects.",
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author = "Favazza, {Christopher P.} and Lifeng Yu and Shuai Leng and Kofler, {James M.} and McCollough, {Cynthia H}",
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AU - Favazza, Christopher P.

AU - Yu, Lifeng

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AU - Kofler, James M.

AU - McCollough, Cynthia H

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N2 - Objective To compare computed tomography dose and noise arising from use of an automatic exposure control (AEC) system designed to maintain constant image noise as patient size varies with clinically accepted technique charts and AEC systems designed to vary image noise. Materials and Methods A model was developed to describe tube current modulation as a function of patient thickness. Relative dose and noise values were calculated as patient width varied for AEC settings designed to yield constant or variable noise levels and were compared to empirically derived values used by our clinical practice. Phantom experiments were performed in which tube current was measured as a function of thickness using a constant-noise-based AEC system and the results were compared with clinical technique charts. Results For 12-, 20-, 28-, 44-, and 50-cm patient widths, the requirement of constant noise across patient size yielded relative doses of 5%, 14%, 38%, 260%, and 549% and relative noises of 435%, 267%, 163%, 61%, and 42%, respectively, as compared with our clinically used technique chart settings at each respective width. Experimental measurements showed that a constant noise-based AEC system yielded 175% relative noise for a 30-cm phantom and 206% relative dose for a 40-cm phantom compared with our clinical technique chart. Conclusions Automatic exposure control systems that prescribe constant noise as patient size varies can yield excessive noise in small patients and excessive dose in obese patients compared with clinically accepted technique charts. Use of noise-level technique charts and tube current limits can mitigate these effects.

AB - Objective To compare computed tomography dose and noise arising from use of an automatic exposure control (AEC) system designed to maintain constant image noise as patient size varies with clinically accepted technique charts and AEC systems designed to vary image noise. Materials and Methods A model was developed to describe tube current modulation as a function of patient thickness. Relative dose and noise values were calculated as patient width varied for AEC settings designed to yield constant or variable noise levels and were compared to empirically derived values used by our clinical practice. Phantom experiments were performed in which tube current was measured as a function of thickness using a constant-noise-based AEC system and the results were compared with clinical technique charts. Results For 12-, 20-, 28-, 44-, and 50-cm patient widths, the requirement of constant noise across patient size yielded relative doses of 5%, 14%, 38%, 260%, and 549% and relative noises of 435%, 267%, 163%, 61%, and 42%, respectively, as compared with our clinically used technique chart settings at each respective width. Experimental measurements showed that a constant noise-based AEC system yielded 175% relative noise for a 30-cm phantom and 206% relative dose for a 40-cm phantom compared with our clinical technique chart. Conclusions Automatic exposure control systems that prescribe constant noise as patient size varies can yield excessive noise in small patients and excessive dose in obese patients compared with clinically accepted technique charts. Use of noise-level technique charts and tube current limits can mitigate these effects.

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