How much is the dose varying between follow-up CT-examinations performed on the same scanner with the same imaging protocol?
Purpose To investigate the dose variation between follow-up CT examinations, when a patient is examined several times on the same scanner with the identical scan protocol which comprised automated exposure control. Material and Methods This retrospective study was approved by the local ethics committee. The volume computed tomography dose index (CTDIvol) and the dose-length-product (DLP) were recorded for 60 cancer patients (29 male, 31 female, mean age 60.1 years), who received 3 follow-up CT examinations each composed of a non-enhanced scan of the liver (LI-CT) and a contrast-enhanced scan of chest (CH-CT) and abdomen (AB-CT). Each examination was performed on the same scanner (Siemens Definition FLASH) equipped with automated exposure control (CARE Dose 4D and CARE KV) using the identical scan protocol. Results The median percentage difference in DLP between follow-up examinations was 9.6% for CH-CT, 10.3% for LI-CT, and 10.1% for AB-CT; the median percentage difference in CTDIvol 8.3% for CH-CT, 7.4% for LI-CT and 7.7% for AB-CT (p<0.0001 for all values). The maximum difference in DLP between follow-up examinations was 67.5% for CH-CT, 50.8% for LI-CT and 74.3% for AB-CT; the maximum difference in CTDIvol 62.9% for CH-CT, 47.2% for LI-CT, and 49% for AB-CT. Conclusion A significant variance in the radiation dose occurs between follow-up CT examinations when the same CT scanner and the identical imaging protocol are used in combination with automated exposure control.
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