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Phys Med Biol. 2009 May 21;54(10):3141-59. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/54/10/012. Epub 2009 May 6.

Computed tomography dose assessment for a 160 mm wide, 320 detector row, cone beam CT scanner.

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Radiology Department, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2333 ZA Leiden, The Netherlands.


Computed tomography (CT) dosimetry should be adapted to the rapid developments in CT technology. Recently a 160 mm wide, 320 detector row, cone beam CT scanner that challenges the existing Computed Tomography Dose Index (CTDI) dosimetry paradigm was introduced. The purpose of this study was to assess dosimetric characteristics of this cone beam scanner, to study the appropriateness of existing CT dose metrics and to suggest a pragmatic approach for CT dosimetry for cone beam scanners. Dose measurements with a small Farmer-type ionization chamber and with 100 mm and 300 mm long pencil ionization chambers were performed free in air to characterize the cone beam. According to the most common dose metric in CT, namely CTDI, measurements were also performed in 150 mm and 350 mm long CT head and CT body dose phantoms with 100 mm and 300 mm long pencil ionization chambers, respectively. To explore effects that cannot be measured with ionization chambers, Monte Carlo (MC) simulations of the dose distribution in 150 mm, 350 mm and 700 mm long CT head and CT body phantoms were performed. To overcome inconsistencies in the definition of CTDI100 for the 160 mm wide cone beam CT scanner, doses were also expressed as the average absorbed dose within the pencil chamber (D100). Measurements free in air revealed excellent correspondence between CTDI300air and D100air, while CTDI100air substantially underestimates CTDI300air. Results of measurements in CT dose phantoms and corresponding MC simulations at centre and peripheral positions were weighted and revealed good agreement between CTDI300w, D100w and CTDI600w, while CTDI100w substantially underestimates CTDI300w. D100w provides a pragmatic metric for characterizing the dose of the 160 mm wide cone beam CT scanner. This quantity can be measured with the widely available 100 mm pencil ionization chamber within 150 mm long CT dose phantoms. CTDI300w measured in 350 mm long CT dose phantoms serves as an appropriate standard of reference for characterizing the dose of this CT scanner. A CT dose descriptor that is based on an integration length smaller than the actual beam width is preferably expressed as an (average) dose, such as D100 for the 160 mm wide cone beam CT scanner, and not as CTDI100.

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