To develop and validate software for facilitating observer studies on the effect of radiation exposure on the diagnostic value of computed tomography (CT).
A low dose simulator was developed which adds noise to the raw CT data. For validation two phantoms were used: a cylindrical test object and an anthropomorphic phantom. Images of both were acquired at different dose levels by changing the tube current of the acquisition (500 mA to 20 mA in five steps). Additionally, low dose simulations were performed from 500 mA downwards to 20 mA in the same steps. Noise was measured within the cylindrical test object and in the anthropomorphic phantom. Finally, noise power spectra (NPS) were measured in water.
The low dose simulator yielded similar image quality compared with actual low dose acquisitions. Mean difference in noise over all comparisons between actual and simulated images was 5.7 ± 4.6% for the cylindrical test object and 3.3 ± 2.6% for the anthropomorphic phantom. NPS measurements showed that the general shape and intensity are similar.