Size-specific dose estimates for adult patients at CT of the torso

Jodie A. Christner, Natalie N. Braun, Megan C. Jacobsen, Rickey E. Carter, James M. Kofler, Cynthia H. McCollough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine relationships among patient size, scanner radiation output, and size-specific dose estimates (SSDEs) for adults who underwent computed tomography (CT) of the torso. Materials and Methods: Informed consent was waived for this institutional review board-approved study of existing data from 545 adult patients (322 men, 223 women) who underwent clinically indicated CT of the torso between April 1, 2007, and May 13, 2007. Automatic exposure control was used to adjust scanner output for each patient according to the measured CT attenuation. The volume CT dose index (CTDIvol) was used with measurements of patient size (anterioposterior plus lateral dimensions) and the conversion factors from the American Association of Physicists in Medicine Report 204 to determine SSDE. Linear regression models were used to assess the dependence of CTDIvol and SSDE on patient size. Results: Patient sizes ranged from 42 to 84 cm. In this range, CTDIvol was significantly correlated with size (slope = 0.34 mGy/cm; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.31, 0.37 mGy/cm; R2 = 0.48; P < .001), but SSDE was independent of size (slope = 0.02 mGy/cm; 95% CI: -0.02, 0.07 mGy/cm; R 2 = 0.003; P = .3). These R2 values indicated that patient size explained 48% of the observed variability in CTDIvolbut less than 1% of the observed variability in SSDE. The regression of CTDI vol versus patient size demonstrated that, in the 42-84-cm range, CTDIvol varied from 12 to 26 mGy. However, use of the evaluated automatic exposure control system to adjust scanner output for patient size resulted in SSDE values that were independent of size. Conclusion: For the evaluated automatic exposure control system, CTDIvol (scanner output) increased linearly with patient size; however, patient dose (as indicated by SSDE) was independent of size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-847
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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