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

Radiographics. Nov-Dec 2006;26(6):1785-94. doi: 10.1148/rg.266065063.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts*
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / instrumentation*
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / instrumentation*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Transducers