Evaluation of image quality and lesion perception by human readers on 3D CT colonography: comparison of standard and low radiation dose

Eur Radiol. 2010 Mar;20(3):630-9. doi: 10.1007/s00330-009-1601-5. Epub 2009 Sep 16.


Aims: We compared the prevalence of noise-related artefacts and lesion perception on three-dimensional (3D) CT colonography (CTC) at standard and low radiation doses.

Methods: Forty-eight patients underwent CTC (64 x 0.625 mm collimation; tube rotation time 0.5 s; automatic tube current modulation: standard dose 40-160 mA, low dose 10-50 mA). Low- and standard-dose acquisitions were performed in the supine position, one after the other. The presence of artefacts (cobblestone and snow artefacts, irregularly delineated folds) and the presence of polyps were evaluated by five radiologists on 3D images at standard dose, the original low dose and a modified low dose, i.e. after manipulation of opacity on 3D.

Results: The mean effective dose was 3.9 +/- 1.3 mSv at standard dose and 1.03 +/- 0.4 mSv at low dose. The number of images showing cobblestone artefacts and irregularly delineated folds at original and modified low doses was significantly higher than at standard dose (P < 0.0001). Most of the artefacts on modified low-dose images were mild. No significant difference in sensitivity between the dose levels was found for polyps > or =6 mm.

Conclusions: Reduction of the effective dose to 1 mSv significantly affects image quality on 3D CTC, but the perception of > or =6 mm lesions is not significantly impaired.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Colonography, Computed Tomographic / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity