Radiation dose reduction to the breast in thoracic CT: Comparison of bismuth shielding, organ-based tube current modulation, and use of a globally decreased tube current

Jia Wang, Xinhui Duan, Jodie A. Christner, Shuai Leng, Lifeng Yu, Cynthia H. McCollough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this work was to evaluate dose performance and image quality in thoracic CT using three techniques to reduce dose to the breast: bismuth shielding, organ-based tube current modulation (TCM) and global tube current reduction. Methods: Semi-anthropomorphic thorax phantoms of four different sizes (15, 30, 35, and 40 cm lateral width) were used for dose measurement and image quality assessment. Four scans were performed on each phantom using 100 or 120 kV with a clinical CT scanner: (1) reference scan; (2) scan with bismuth breast shield of an appropriate thickness; (3) scan with organ-based TCM; and (4) scan with a global reduction in tube current chosen to match the dose reduction from bismuth shielding. Dose to the breast was measured with an ion chamber on the surface of the phantom. Image quality was evaluated by measuring the mean and standard deviation of CT numbers within the lung and heart regions. Results: Compared to the reference scan, dose to the breast region was decreased by about 21 for the 15-cm phantom with a pediatric (2-ply) shield and by about 37% for the 30, 35, and 40-cm phantoms with adult (4-ply) shields. Organ-based TCM decreased the dose by 12% for the 15-cm phantom, and 34%-39% for the 30, 35, and 40-cm phantoms. Global lowering of the tube current reduced breast dose by 23% for the 15-cm phantom and 39% for the 30, 35, and 40-cm phantoms. In phantoms of all four sizes, image noise was increased in both the lung and heart regions with bismuth shielding. No significant increase in noise was observed with organ-based TCM. Decreasing tube current globally led to similar noise increases as bismuth shielding. Streak and beam hardening artifacts, and a resulting artifactual increase in CT numbers, were observed for scans with bismuth shields, but not for organ-based TCM or global tube current reduction. Conclusions: Organ-based TCM produces dose reduction to the breast similar to that achieved with bismuth shielding for both pediatric and adult phantoms. However, organ-based TCM does not affect image noise or CT number accuracy, both of which are adversely affected by bismuth shielding. Alternatively, globally decreasing the tube current can produce the same dose reduction to the breast as bismuth shielding, with a similar noise increase, yet without the streak artifacts and CT number errors caused by the bismuth shields. Moreover, globally decreasing the tube current reduces the dose to all tissues scanned, not simply to the breast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6084-6092
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Physics
Volume38
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

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Bismuth
Breast
Thorax
Radiation
Noise
Artifacts
Pediatrics
Lung
Ions

Keywords

  • bismuth shielding
  • radiation dose
  • thoracic CT
  • tube current modulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this

Radiation dose reduction to the breast in thoracic CT : Comparison of bismuth shielding, organ-based tube current modulation, and use of a globally decreased tube current. / Wang, Jia; Duan, Xinhui; Christner, Jodie A.; Leng, Shuai; Yu, Lifeng; McCollough, Cynthia H.

In: Medical Physics, Vol. 38, No. 11, 11.2011, p. 6084-6092.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Purpose: The purpose of this work was to evaluate dose performance and image quality in thoracic CT using three techniques to reduce dose to the breast: bismuth shielding, organ-based tube current modulation (TCM) and global tube current reduction. Methods: Semi-anthropomorphic thorax phantoms of four different sizes (15, 30, 35, and 40 cm lateral width) were used for dose measurement and image quality assessment. Four scans were performed on each phantom using 100 or 120 kV with a clinical CT scanner: (1) reference scan; (2) scan with bismuth breast shield of an appropriate thickness; (3) scan with organ-based TCM; and (4) scan with a global reduction in tube current chosen to match the dose reduction from bismuth shielding. Dose to the breast was measured with an ion chamber on the surface of the phantom. Image quality was evaluated by measuring the mean and standard deviation of CT numbers within the lung and heart regions. Results: Compared to the reference scan, dose to the breast region was decreased by about 21 for the 15-cm phantom with a pediatric (2-ply) shield and by about 37{\%} for the 30, 35, and 40-cm phantoms with adult (4-ply) shields. Organ-based TCM decreased the dose by 12{\%} for the 15-cm phantom, and 34{\%}-39{\%} for the 30, 35, and 40-cm phantoms. Global lowering of the tube current reduced breast dose by 23{\%} for the 15-cm phantom and 39{\%} for the 30, 35, and 40-cm phantoms. In phantoms of all four sizes, image noise was increased in both the lung and heart regions with bismuth shielding. No significant increase in noise was observed with organ-based TCM. Decreasing tube current globally led to similar noise increases as bismuth shielding. Streak and beam hardening artifacts, and a resulting artifactual increase in CT numbers, were observed for scans with bismuth shields, but not for organ-based TCM or global tube current reduction. Conclusions: Organ-based TCM produces dose reduction to the breast similar to that achieved with bismuth shielding for both pediatric and adult phantoms. However, organ-based TCM does not affect image noise or CT number accuracy, both of which are adversely affected by bismuth shielding. Alternatively, globally decreasing the tube current can produce the same dose reduction to the breast as bismuth shielding, with a similar noise increase, yet without the streak artifacts and CT number errors caused by the bismuth shields. Moreover, globally decreasing the tube current reduces the dose to all tissues scanned, not simply to the breast.",
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AU - Duan, Xinhui

AU - Christner, Jodie A.

AU - Leng, Shuai

AU - Yu, Lifeng

AU - McCollough, Cynthia H.

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N2 - Purpose: The purpose of this work was to evaluate dose performance and image quality in thoracic CT using three techniques to reduce dose to the breast: bismuth shielding, organ-based tube current modulation (TCM) and global tube current reduction. Methods: Semi-anthropomorphic thorax phantoms of four different sizes (15, 30, 35, and 40 cm lateral width) were used for dose measurement and image quality assessment. Four scans were performed on each phantom using 100 or 120 kV with a clinical CT scanner: (1) reference scan; (2) scan with bismuth breast shield of an appropriate thickness; (3) scan with organ-based TCM; and (4) scan with a global reduction in tube current chosen to match the dose reduction from bismuth shielding. Dose to the breast was measured with an ion chamber on the surface of the phantom. Image quality was evaluated by measuring the mean and standard deviation of CT numbers within the lung and heart regions. Results: Compared to the reference scan, dose to the breast region was decreased by about 21 for the 15-cm phantom with a pediatric (2-ply) shield and by about 37% for the 30, 35, and 40-cm phantoms with adult (4-ply) shields. Organ-based TCM decreased the dose by 12% for the 15-cm phantom, and 34%-39% for the 30, 35, and 40-cm phantoms. Global lowering of the tube current reduced breast dose by 23% for the 15-cm phantom and 39% for the 30, 35, and 40-cm phantoms. In phantoms of all four sizes, image noise was increased in both the lung and heart regions with bismuth shielding. No significant increase in noise was observed with organ-based TCM. Decreasing tube current globally led to similar noise increases as bismuth shielding. Streak and beam hardening artifacts, and a resulting artifactual increase in CT numbers, were observed for scans with bismuth shields, but not for organ-based TCM or global tube current reduction. Conclusions: Organ-based TCM produces dose reduction to the breast similar to that achieved with bismuth shielding for both pediatric and adult phantoms. However, organ-based TCM does not affect image noise or CT number accuracy, both of which are adversely affected by bismuth shielding. Alternatively, globally decreasing the tube current can produce the same dose reduction to the breast as bismuth shielding, with a similar noise increase, yet without the streak artifacts and CT number errors caused by the bismuth shields. Moreover, globally decreasing the tube current reduces the dose to all tissues scanned, not simply to the breast.

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KW - bismuth shielding

KW - radiation dose

KW - thoracic CT

KW - tube current modulation

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