The profound effects of patient arm positioning on organ doses from CT procedures calculated using Monte Carlo simulations and deformable phantoms.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the organ dose differences caused by the arms-raised and arms-lowered postures for multidetector computed tomography procedures. Organ doses were calculated using computational phantoms and Monte Carlo simulations. The arm position in two previously developed adult male and female human phantoms was adjusted to represent 'raised' and 'lowered' postures using advanced BREP-based mesh surface geometries. Organ doses from routine computed tomography (CT) scan protocols, including the chest, abdomen-pelvis, and chest-abdomen-pelvis scans, were simulated at various tube voltages and reported in the unit of mGy per 100 mAs. The CT scanner model was based on previously tested work. The differences in organ dose per unit tube current between raised and lowered arm postures were studied. Furthermore, the differences due to the tube current modulation (TCM) for these two different postures and their impact on organ doses were also investigated. For a given scan parameter, a patient having lowered arms received smaller doses to organs located within the chest, abdomen or pelvis when compared with the patient having raised arms. As expected, this is caused by the attenuation of the primary X rays by the arms. However, the skin doses and bone surface doses in the patient having lowered arms were found to be 3.97-32.12% larger than those in a patient having raised arms due to the fact that more skin and spongiosa were covered in the scan range when the arms are lowered. This study also found that dose differences become smaller with the increase in tube voltage for most of organs or tissues except the skin. For example, the liver dose differences decreased from -15.01 to -11.33% whereas the skin dose differences increased from 21.53 to 25.24% with tube voltage increased from 80 to 140 kVp. With TCM applied, the organ doses of all the listed organs in patient having lowered arms are larger due to the additional tube current necessary to overcome the presence of the arms while maintaining sufficient image quality Arm position affects the dose to internal organs from CT scans by as much as 25.3%. The presence of arms in the scan range results in a dose increase for the skin and bone surface, but a dose decrease for organs located in the torso. Considering the use of TCM, which is common in many clinics, the patient having lowered arms may receive 50% higher radiation dose to most of the organs because of the increased tube current. The use of higher tube voltage might narrow such dose differences between patients of these two postures due to the greater penetration of higher-energy X rays. Therefore, when calculating or reporting patient doses from CT scans, it is prudent to select an appropriate phantom that accurately represents the patient posture.
Liu, H; Gao, Y; Ding, A; Caracappa, PF; Xu, XG
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