Extension of RPI-adult male and female computational phantoms to obese patients and a Monte Carlo study of the effect on CT imaging dose.
Although it is known that obesity has a profound effect on x-ray computed tomography (CT) image quality and patient organ dose, quantitative data describing this relationship are not currently available. This study examines the effect of obesity on the calculated radiation dose to organs and tissues from CT using newly developed phantoms representing overweight and obese patients. These phantoms were derived from the previously developed RPI-adult male and female computational phantoms. The result was a set of ten phantoms (five males, five females) with body mass indexes ranging from 23.5 (normal body weight) to 46.4 kg m(-2) (morbidly obese). The phantoms were modeled using triangular mesh geometry and include specified amounts of the subcutaneous adipose tissue and visceral adipose tissue. The mesh-based phantoms were then voxelized and defined in the Monte Carlo N-Particle Extended code to calculate organ doses from CT imaging. Chest-abdomen-pelvis scanning protocols for a GE LightSpeed 16 scanner operating at 120 and 140 kVp were considered. It was found that for the same scanner operating parameters, radiation doses to organs deep in the abdomen (e.g., colon) can be up to 59% smaller for obese individuals compared to those of normal body weight. This effect was found to be less significant for shallow organs. On the other hand, increasing the tube potential from 120 to 140 kVp for the same obese individual resulted in increased organ doses by as much as 56% for organs within the scan field (e.g., stomach) and 62% for those out of the scan field (e.g., thyroid), respectively. As higher tube currents are often used for larger patients to maintain image quality, it was of interest to quantify the associated effective dose. It was found from this study that when the mAs was doubled for the obese level-I, obese level-II and morbidly-obese phantoms, the effective dose relative to that of the normal weight phantom increased by 57%, 42% and 23%, respectively. This set of new obese phantoms can be used in the future to study the optimization of image quality and radiation dose for patients of different weight classifications. Our ultimate goal is to compile all the data derived from these phantoms into a comprehensive dosimetry database defined in the VirtualDose software.
Ding, A; Mille, MM; Liu, T; Caracappa, PF; Xu, XG
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