The feasibility of a scanner-independent technique to estimate organ dose from MDCT scans: Using CTDIvol to account for differences between scanners

Adam C. Turner, Maria Zankl, John J. Demarco, Chris H. Cagnon, Di Zhang, Erin Angel, Dianna D. Cody, Donna M. Stevens, Cynthia H. McCollough, Michael F. McNitt-Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Purpose: Monte Carlo radiation transport techniques have made it possible to accurately estimate the radiation dose to radiosensitive organs in patient models from scans performed with modern multidetector row computed tomography (MDCT) scanners. However, there is considerable variation in organ doses across scanners, even when similar acquisition conditions are used. The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of a technique to estimate organ doses that would be scanner independent. This was accomplished by assessing the ability of CTDIvol measurements to account for differences in MDCT scanners that lead to organ dose differences. Methods: Monte Carlo simulations of 64-slice MDCT scanners from each of the four major manufacturers were performed. An adult female patient model from the GSF family of voxelized phantoms was used in which all ICRP Publication 103 radiosensitive organs were identified. A 120 kVp, full-body helical scan with a pitch of 1 was simulated for each scanner using similar scan protocols across scanners. From each simulated scan, the radiation dose to each organ was obtained on a per mA s basis (mGy/mA s). In addition, CTDIvol values were obtained from each scanner for the selected scan parameters. Then, to demonstrate the feasibility of generating organ dose estimates from scanner-independent coefficients, the simulated organ dose values resulting from each scanner were normalized by the CTDIvol value for those acquisition conditions. Results: CTDIvol values across scanners showed considerable variation as the coefficient of variation (CoV) across scanners was 34.1%. The simulated patient scans also demonstrated considerable differences in organ dose values, which varied by up to a factor of approximately 2 between some of the scanners. The CoV across scanners for the simulated organ doses ranged from 26.7% (for the adrenals) to 37.7% (for the thyroid), with a mean CoV of 31.5% across all organs. However, when organ doses are normalized by CTDIvol values, the differences across scanners become very small. For the CTDIvol, normalized dose values the CoVs across scanners for different organs ranged from a minimum of 2.4% (for skin tissue) to a maximum of 8.5% (for the adrenals) with a mean of 5.2%. Conclusions: This work has revealed that there is considerable variation among modern MDCT scanners in both CTDIvol and organ dose values. Because these variations are similar, CTDIvol can be used as a normalization factor with excellent results. This demonstrates the feasibility of establishing scanner-independent organ dose estimates by using CTDIvol to account for the differences between scanners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1816-1825
Number of pages10
JournalMedical physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • CT
  • Monte Carlo simulations
  • Multidetector row CT
  • Organ dose
  • Radiation dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'The feasibility of a scanner-independent technique to estimate organ dose from MDCT scans: Using CTDIvol to account for differences between scanners'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this