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Patient-based estimation of organ dose for a population of 58 adult patients across 13 protocol categories
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This study aimed to provide a comprehensive patient-specific organ dose estimation across a multiplicity of computed tomography (CT) examination protocols.
A validated Monte Carlo program was employed to model a common CT system (LightSpeed VCT, GE Healthcare). The organ and effective doses were estimated from 13 commonly used body and neurological CT examination. The dose estimation was performed on 58 adult computational extended cardiac-torso phantoms (35 male, 23 female, mean age 51.5 years, mean weight 80.2 kg). The organ dose normalized by CTDI vol (h factor) and effective dose normalized by the dose length product (DLP) (k factor) were calculated from the results. A mathematical model was derived for the correlation between the h and k factors with the patient size across the protocols. Based on this mathematical model, a dose estimation iPhone operating system application was designed and developed to be used as a tool to estimate dose to the patients for a variety of routinely used CT examinations.
The organ dose results across all the protocols showed an exponential decrease with patient body size. The correlation was generally strong for the organs which were fully or partially located inside the scan coverage (Pearson sample correlation coefficient (r) of 0.49). The correlation was weaker for organs outside the scan coverage for which distance between the organ and the irradiation area was a stronger predictor of dose to the organ. For body protocols, the effective dose before and after normalization by DLP decreased exponentially with increasing patient's body diameter (r > 0.85). The exponential relationship between effective dose and patient's body diameter was significantly weaker for neurological protocols (r < 0.41), where the trunk length was a slightly stronger predictor of effective dose (0.15 < r < 0.46).
While the most accurate estimation of a patient dose requires specific modeling of the patient anatomy, a first order approximation of organ and effective doses from routine CT scan protocols can be reasonably estimated using size specific factors. Estimation accuracy is generally poor for organ outside the scan range and for neurological protocols. The dose calculator designed in this study can be used to conveniently estimate and report the dose values for a patient across a multiplicity of CT scan protocols.
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