Strategies for formulating appropriate MDCT techniques when imaging the chest, abdomen, and pelvis in pediatric patients

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2004 Apr;182(4):849-59. doi: 10.2214/ajr.182.4.1820849.


Objective: Our aim was to formulate appropriate MDCT chest and abdominopelvic CT scan protocols for pediatric patients.

Materials and methods: Surface radiation dose measurements from a set of anthropomorphic phantoms (nominal 1 year old, 5 year old, and 10 year old) and an adult phantom were compared with standard CT dose index measurements. Image-noise values on axial 5-mm-thick anthropomorphic phantom images were obtained as a measure of image quality.

Results: Peripheral CT dose index values obtained with the standard 16-cm acrylic phantom were within approximately 10% of the CT surface dose measurements for the pediatric anthropomorphic phantoms for both chest and abdominopelvic scan protocols. The noise value for the adult phantom image acquired using a typical clinical CT technique was identified, and targeting this level of noise for pediatric CT examinations resulted in a decrease in dose of 60-90%. Initially, 80 kVp was selected for use with very small children; however, beam-hardening artifacts were severe enough to cause us to abandon this option. Current pediatric protocols at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center rely on 100- and 120-kVp settings. The display field-of-view parameter can be used as a surrogate for patient size to develop clinical pediatric CT protocol charts.

Conclusion: CT dose index measurements obtained using the 16-cm standard acrylic phantom are sufficiently accurate for estimating chest and abdominopelvic CT entrance exposures for pediatric patients of the same approximate size as the anthropomorphic phantoms used in this study. Image-noise measurements can be used to adjust chest and abdominopelvic CT techniques for pediatric populations, resulting in a decrease in measured entrance dose by 60-90%.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Pelvis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiography, Abdominal / methods*
  • Radiography, Thoracic / methods*
  • Scintillation Counting
  • Skin
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / instrumentation
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*