Pros and cons of organ shielding for CT imaging.
With the increased importance of CT radiation dose to health care providers, patients and the general public, there is an increased responsibility to minimize patient dose effectively. Bismuth shields offer a simple strategy to reduce dose to certain anterior radiosensitive organs such as breasts and eyes. However, in order to reduce organ dose they must be used properly; improper use can lead to an actual increase in the patient dose. They also create a proportional increase in image noise in the section of the body adjacent to the shield and further reduce the quantitative precision of CT numbers. In addition, shielding can degrade the overall efficiency (by an order of approximately 10%) of the imaging process, reducing the theoretical image quality that can be expected from a certain level of patient dose. However, in spite of their significant disadvantages, there are certain clinical situations and practice considerations that provide qualified justification for their continued use.
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