Relationship between noise, dose, and pitch in cardiac multi-detector row CT

Andrew N. Primak, Cynthia H. McCollough, Michael R. Bruesewitz, Jie Zhang, Joel G. Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


In spiral computed tomography (CT), dose is always inversely proportional to pitch. However, the relationship between noise and pitch (and hence noise and dose) depends on the scanner type (single vs multi-detector row) and reconstruction mode (cardiac vs noncardiac). In single detector row spiral CT, noise is independent of pitch. Conversely, in noncardiac multi-detector row CT, noise depends on pitch because the spiral interpolation algorithm makes use of redundant data from different detector rows to decrease noise for pitch values less than 1 (and increase noise for pitch values > 1). However, in cardiac spiral CT, redundant data cannot be used because such data averaging would degrade the temporal resolution. Therefore, the behavior of noise versus pitch returns to the single detector row paradigm, with noise being independent of pitch. Consequently, since faster rotation times require lower pitch values in cardiac multi-detector row CT, dose is increased without a commensurate decrease in noise. Thus, the use of faster rotation times will improve temporal resolution, not alter noise, and increase dose. For a particular application, the higher dose resulting from faster rotation speeds should be justified by the clinical benefits of the improved temporal resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1785-1794
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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