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Korean J Radiol. 2010 Jan-Feb;11(1):46-53. doi: 10.3348/kjr.2010.11.1.46. Epub 2009 Dec 28.

Is weight-based adjustment of automatic exposure control necessary for the reduction of chest CT radiation dose?

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  • 1Division of Thoracic Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



To assess the effects of radiation dose reduction in the chest CT using a weight-based adjustment of the automatic exposure control (AEC) technique.


With Institutional Review Board Approval, 60 patients (mean age, 59.1 years; M:F = 35:25) and 57 weight-matched patients (mean age, 52.3 years, M:F = 25:32) were scanned using a weight-adjusted AEC and non-weight-adjusted AEC, respectively on a 64-slice multidetector CT with a 0.984:1 pitch, 0.5 second rotation time, 40 mm table feed/rotation, and 2.5 mm section thickness. Patients were categorized into 3 weight categories; < 60 kg (n = 17), 60-90 kg (n = 52), and > 90 kg (n = 48). Patient weights, scanning parameters, CT dose index volumes (CTDIvol) and dose length product (DLP) were recorded, while effective dose (ED) was estimated. Image noise was measured in the descending thoracic aorta. Data were analyzed using a standard statistical package (SAS/STAT) (Version 9.1, SAS institute Inc, Cary, NC).


Compared to the non-weight-adjusted AEC, the weight-adjusted AEC technique resulted in an average decrease of 29% in CTDIvol and a 27% effective dose reduction (p < 0.0001). With weight-adjusted AEC, the CTDIvol decreased to 15.8, 15.9, and 27.3 mGy for the < 60, 60-90 and > 91 kg weight groups, respectively, compared to 20.3, 27.9 and 32.8 mGy, with non-weight-adjusted AEC. No significant difference was observed for objective image noise between the chest CT acquired with the non-weight-adjusted (15.0 +/- 3.1) and weight-adjusted (16.1 +/- 5.6) AEC techniques (p > 0.05).


The results of this study suggest that AEC should be tailored according to patient weight. Without weight-based adjustment of AEC, patients are exposed to a 17 - 43% higher radiation-dose from a chest CT.


Automatic exposure control (AEC); Chest CT; Radiation dose; Weight based

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