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Background: The use of computed tomography (CT) for attenuation correction (AC) in whole-body PET/CT can result in a significant contribution to radiation exposure. This can become a limiting factor for reducing considerably the overall radiation exposure of the patient when using the new long axial field of view (LAFOV) PET scanners. However, recent CT technology have introduced features such as the tin (Sn) filter, which can substantially reduce the CT radiation dose. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the ultra-low dose CT for attenuation correction using the Sn filter together with other dose reduction options such as tube current (mAs) reduction. We explore the impact of dose reduction in the context of AC-CT and how it affects PET image quality. Methods: The study evaluated a range of ultra-low dose CT protocols using five physical phantoms that represented a broad collection of tissue electron densities. A long axial field of view (LAFOV) PET/CT scanner was used to scan all phantoms, applying various CT dose reduction parameters such as reducing tube current (mAs), increasing the pitch value, and applying the Sn filter. The effective dose resulting from the CT scans was determined using the CTDIVol reported by the scanner. Several voxel-based and volumes of interest (VOI)-based comparisons were performed to compare the ultra-low dose CT images, the generated attenuation maps, and corresponding PET images against those images acquired with the standard low dose CT protocol. Finally, two patient datasets were acquired using one of the suggested ultra-low dose CT settings. Results: By incorporating the Sn filter and adjusting mAs to the lowest available value, the radiation dose in CT images of PBU-60 phantom was significantly reduced; resulting in an effective dose of nearly 2% compared to the routine low dose CT protocols currently in clinical use. The assessment of PET images using VOI and voxel-based comparisons indicated relative differences (RD%) of under 6% for mean activity concentration (AC) in the torso phantom and patient dataset and under 8% for a source point in the CIRS phantom. The maximum RD% value of AC was 14% for the point source in the CIRS phantom. Increasing the tube current from 6 mAs to 30 mAs in patients with high BMI, or with arms down, can suppress the photon starvation artifact, whilst still preserving a dose reduction of 90%. Conclusions: Introducing a Sn filter in CT imaging lowers radiation dose by more than 90%. This reduction has minimal effect on PET image quantification at least for patients without Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 30. Notably, this study results need validation using a larger clinical PET/CT dataset in the future, including patients with higher BMI.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)139-155
Aantal pagina's17
TijdschriftMedical Physics
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - jan.-2024

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