Gagne [Med. Phys. 16, 29-37 (1989)] has previously described a model for predicting the sensitivity and dose profiles in the slice-width (z) direction for CT scanners. The model, developed prior to the advent of multidetector CT scanners, is still widely used; however, it does not account for the effect of anode tilt on the penumbra or include the heel effect, both of which are increasingly important for the wider beams (up to 40 mm) of contemporary, multidetector scanners. Additionally, it applied only on (or near) the axis of rotation, and did not incorporate the photon energy spectrum. The improved model described herein transcends all of the aforementioned limitations of the Gagne model, including extension to the peripheral phantom axes. Comparison of simulated and measured dose data provides experimental validation of the model, including verification of the superior match to the penumbra provided by the tilted-anode model, as well as the observable effects on the cumulative dose distribution. The initial motivation for the model was to simulate the quasiperiodic dose distribution on the peripheral, phantom axes resulting from a helical scan series in order to facilitate the implementation of an improved method of CT dose measurement utilizing a short ion chamber, as proposed by Dixon [Med. Phys. 30, 1272-1280 (2003)]. A more detailed set of guidelines for implementing such measurements is also presented in this paper. In addition, some fundamental principles governing CT dose which have not previously been clearly enunciated follow from the model, and a fundamental (energy-based) quantity dubbed "CTDI-aperture" is introduced.