Dose reduction in computed tomography by attenuation-based on-line modulation of tube current: evaluation of six anatomical regions

Eur Radiol. 2000;10(2):391-4. doi: 10.1007/s003300050062.


This study investigated the potential of attenuation-based on-line modulation of tube current to reduce the dose of computed tomography (in milliamperes) without loss in image quality. The dose can be reduced for non-circular patient cross-sections by reducing the tube current at the angular positions at which the diameter through the patient diameter is smallest. We investigated a new technical approach with attenuation-based on-line modulation of tube current. Computed tomographic projection data were analyzed to determine the optimal milliampere values for each projection angle in real time, instead of performing prior measurements with localizer radiographs. We compared image quality, noise pattern, and dose for standard scans and for scans with attenuation-based on-line modulation of tube current in a group of 30 radiation therapy patients. Six different anatomical regions were examined: head, shoulder, thorax, abdomen, pelvis, and extremities (knee). Image quality was evaluated by four radiologists in a blinded fashion. We found the dose to be reduced typically by 15-50 %. In general, no deterioration in image quality was observed. Thus the dose in computed tomography be reduced substantially by technical measures without sacrificing image quality. Attenuation-based on-line modulation of tube current is an efficient and practical means for this.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Protection*
  • Tomography Scanners, X-Ray Computed
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*