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      Quantitative Image Quality and Histogram-Based Evaluations of an Iterative Reconstruction Algorithm at Low-to-Ultralow Radiation Dose Levels: A Phantom Study in Chest CT

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          Abstract

          Objective

          To describe the quantitative image quality and histogram-based evaluation of an iterative reconstruction (IR) algorithm in chest computed tomography (CT) scans at low-to-ultralow CT radiation dose levels.

          Materials and Methods

          In an adult anthropomorphic phantom, chest CT scans were performed with 128-section dual-source CT at 70, 80, 100, 120, and 140 kVp, and the reference (3.4 mGy in volume CT Dose Index [CTDI vol]), 30%-, 60%-, and 90%-reduced radiation dose levels (2.4, 1.4, and 0.3 mGy). The CT images were reconstructed by using filtered back projection (FBP) algorithms and IR algorithm with strengths 1, 3, and 5. Image noise, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) were statistically compared between different dose levels, tube voltages, and reconstruction algorithms. Moreover, histograms of subtraction images before and after standardization in x- and y-axes were visually compared.

          Results

          Compared with FBP images, IR images with strengths 1, 3, and 5 demonstrated image noise reduction up to 49.1%, SNR increase up to 100.7%, and CNR increase up to 67.3%. Noteworthy image quality degradations on IR images including a 184.9% increase in image noise, 63.0% decrease in SNR, and 51.3% decrease in CNR, and were shown between 60% and 90% reduced levels of radiation dose ( p < 0.0001). Subtraction histograms between FBP and IR images showed progressively increased dispersion with increased IR strength and increased dose reduction. After standardization, the histograms appeared deviated and ragged between FBP images and IR images with strength 3 or 5, but almost normally-distributed between FBP images and IR images with strength 1.

          Conclusion

          The IR algorithm may be used to save radiation doses without substantial image quality degradation in chest CT scanning of the adult anthropomorphic phantom, down to approximately 1.4 mGy in CTDI vol (60% reduced dose).

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          Most cited references 34

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          Strategies for CT radiation dose optimization.

          Recent technologic advances have markedly enhanced the clinical applications of computed tomography (CT). While the benefits of CT exceed the harmful effects of radiation exposure in patients, increasing radiation doses to the population have raised a compelling case for reduction of radiation exposure from CT. Strategies for radiation dose reduction are difficult to devise, however, because of a lack of guidelines regarding CT examination and scanning techniques. Various methods and strategies based on individual patient attributes and CT technology have been explored for dose optimization. It is the purpose of this review article to outline basic principles of CT radiation exposure and emphasize the need for CT radiation dose optimization based on modification of scanning parameters and application of recent technologic innovations. Copyright RSNA, 2004
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            CT dose reduction and dose management tools: overview of available options.

            In the past decade, the tremendous advances in computed tomography (CT) technology and applications have increased the clinical utilization of CT, creating concerns about individual and population doses of ionizing radiation. Scanner manufacturers have subsequently implemented several options to appropriately manage or reduce the radiation dose from CT. Modulation of the x-ray tube current during scanning is one effective method of managing the dose. However, the distinctions between the various tube current modulation products are not clear from the product names or descriptions. Depending on the scanner model, the tube current may be modulated according to patient attenuation or a sinusoidal-type function. The modulation may be fully preprogrammed, implemented in near-real time by using a feedback mechanism, or achieved with both preprogramming and a feedback loop. The dose modulation may occur angularly around the patient, along the long axis of the patient, or both. Finally, the system may allow use of one of several algorithms to automatically adjust the current to achieve the desired image quality. Modulation both angularly around the patient and along the z-axis is optimal, but the tube current must be appropriately adapted to patient size for diagnostic image quality to be achieved. (c) RSNA, 2006.
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              Iterative reconstruction methods in X-ray CT.

              Iterative reconstruction (IR) methods have recently re-emerged in transmission x-ray computed tomography (CT). They were successfully used in the early years of CT, but given up when the amount of measured data increased because of the higher computational demands of IR compared to analytical methods. The availability of large computational capacities in normal workstations and the ongoing efforts towards lower doses in CT have changed the situation; IR has become a hot topic for all major vendors of clinical CT systems in the past 5 years. This review strives to provide information on IR methods and aims at interested physicists and physicians already active in the field of CT. We give an overview on the terminology used and an introduction to the most important algorithmic concepts including references for further reading. As a practical example, details on a model-based iterative reconstruction algorithm implemented on a modern graphics adapter (GPU) are presented, followed by application examples for several dedicated CT scanners in order to demonstrate the performance and potential of iterative reconstruction methods. Finally, some general thoughts regarding the advantages and disadvantages of IR methods as well as open points for research in this field are discussed. Copyright © 2012 Associazione Italiana di Fisica Medica. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Korean J Radiol
                Korean J Radiol
                KJR
                Korean Journal of Radiology
                The Korean Society of Radiology
                1229-6929
                2005-8330
                Jan-Feb 2018
                02 January 2018
                : 19
                : 1
                : 119-129
                Affiliations
                Department of Radiology and Research Institute of Radiology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul 05505, Korea.
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Hyun Woo Goo, MD, PhD, Department of Radiology and Research Institute of Radiology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, 88 Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul 05505, Korea. Tel: (822) 3010-4388, Fax: (822) 476-0090, hwgoo@ 123456amc.seoul.kr
                Article
                10.3348/kjr.2018.19.1.119
                5768492
                Copyright © 2018 The Korean Society of Radiology

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Thoracic Imaging
                Original Article

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