Imaging software reduces radiation exposure from CT scans

By pairing newly-developed imaging software with existing CT scanners, physicians at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center were able to reduce the amount of radiation that a patient is exposed to by 37%.

Jul 16th, 2013

By pairing newly-developed imaging software with existing CT scanners, physicians at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center were able to reduce the amount of radiation that a patient is exposed to by 37%.

The software, the use of which was documented in two studies published inRadiology, allows radiologists to control the amount of radiation based on the specific size of the patient while still producing diagnostic-quality images, according to the ScienceDaily press release. Developed and currently in use only at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; the software provides radiologists with the correct scanner settings before the scan is performed, and then monitors each scan slice-by-slice to confirm that the right dose was used.

David Larson, MD, radiology quality and safety director at the medical center and principal architect of the technology said in the press release that the new model allows them to more accurately walk the fine line of precise dosing.

"Even though modern CT scanners adjust the dose based on the size of the patient, they do not necessarily adjust it to the exact image quality radiologists need,” he said. “This way we can not only specify what image quality and dose are appropriate, but we can also predict the scanner settings needed to achieve those levels.”

During the study in which more than 800 patients were involved, Larson and his team determined that image quality is what determines the appropriate dose, and that the challenge is to find the threshold where the dose is as low as possible, but the images are still clear.

CT scan imaging tests typically produce 500 times more radiation than x-rays, so determining the lowest possible amount of radiation is of paramount significance.

View the ScienceDaily press release.

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