Vertical Off-Centering in Reduced Dose Chest-CT: Impact on Effective Dose and Image Noise Values
Objectives To assess the effect of vertical off-centering in tube current modulation (TCM) on effective-dose and image-noise in reduced-dose (RD) chest-CT. Methods One-hundred consecutive patients (36 female; mean age 56 years) were scanned on a 192-slice CT scanner with a standard-dose (ND) and a RD chest-CT protocol using tube current modulation. Image-noise was evaluated by placing circular regions of interest in the apical, middle, and lower lung regions. Two independent readers evaluated image quality. Study population was stratified according to patient position in the gantry: positioned in the gantry isocenter (i), higher than the gantry isocenter (ii), and lower than the gantry isocenter, (iii). Pearson correlation was used to determine the correlation between effective radiation dose and vertical off-centering. Student's t test was used to evaluate for differences in image-noise between groups (i-iii). Results Mean vertical off-centering was of 10.6 mm below the gantry-isocenter (range −45.0–27.9 mm). Effective radiation dose varied in a linear trend, with the highest doses noted below gantry isocenter, and the lowest doses noted above gantry isocenter (ND: r = −0.296; p = 0.003 – RD: r = −0.258; p = 0.010). Lowest image-noise was observed where patients were positioned below the gantry isocenter, and highest in patients positioned above (ND: 79.35 HU vs. 94.86 HU – RD: 143.44 HU vs. 160.13 HU). Subjective image quality was not significantly affected by patient-position (p > 0.05). Overall, there was no over-proportional noise-increase from the ND to the RD protocol in patients which were positioned off-center. Conclusion Vertical off-centering influences effective radiation dose and image-noise on ND and RD protocols. Advances in Knowledge There is no over-proportional noise increase in RD compared to ND protocols when patients are positioned off-center.