OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to systematically investigate radiation dose reduction using automated tube voltage selection during CT angiography (CTA) and to evaluate the impact of contrast medium (CM) injection protocols on dose reduction. MATERIALS AND METHODS. A circulation phantom containing the thoracic and abdominal vasculature was used. Four different concentrations of CM (iopromide 300 and 370 mg I/mL and iomeprol 350 and 400 mg I/mL) were administered while maintaining an identical iodine delivery rate (1.8 g I/s) and total iodine load (20.0 g). Three different scanning protocols for CTA of the thoracoabdominal aorta were used: protocol A, no dose modulation; protocol B, automated tube current modulation (CARE Dose4D); and protocol C, automated tube voltage selection (CARE kV). The dose-length product was recorded to calculate the effective dose. Attenuation values (in Hounsfield units), image noise levels, and signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) in six predefined intravascular sites (three thoracic and three abdominal) were measured by two readers. All values were analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis test and two-way ANOVA. RESULTS. There was a significant reduction in the effective dose (in millisieverts) for protocols B (mean +/- SD, 2.03 +/- 0.1 mSv) and C (1.00 +/- 0.0 mSv) compared with protocol A (4.34 +/- 0.0 mSv). The dose was reduced by 53% for protocol B and by 77% for protocol C. No significant differences were found in the effective dose among the different CM injection protocols within the scanning protocols; all p values were > 0.05. The attenuation values and SNRs were comparable among all the different CM injection protocols; all p values were > 0.05. CONCLUSION. A large radiation dose reduction (77%) can be achieved using automated tube voltage selection independent of the CM injection protocol.
- automated tube potential selection
- contrast media
- CT angiography
- radiation exposure