Impact of Overlying Personal Items on CT Dose with Use of Automated Tube Current Modulation—Pilot Investigation

Thomas R. Mulvey, Xiangyang Tang, Elizabeth A. Krupinski, Pardeep Kumar Mittal, Courtney C. Moreno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the incidence and impact of overlying radiopaque personal items (e.g., cellular phones, zippers) on CT dose and image quality with use of automated tube current modulation. Methods: Topogram images from 100 consecutive adult outpatient CT abdomen pelvis studies were retrospectively reviewed, and the number and type of overlying radiopaque personal items were recorded. Additionally, an anthropomorphic phantom was imaged with overlying personal items 1) present in topogram and axial images; 2) present in topogram but removed prior to axial acquisition; and 3) present in topogram positioned outside the field of view of the axial acquisition. dose length product (DLP) and CT dose index volume (CTDIvol) were compared to acquisitions performed without overlying personal items. Image noise was evaluated by assessing the standard deviation of Hounsfield units at the level of the overlying personal item. Results: Overlying personal items were visible in topogram images for 55% of CT exams and included underwires (38% of exams), zippers (7%), and cellular phones (1%). DLP increased when a cellular phone was present in the topogram whether or not it was removed before axial image acquisition (3.7% p = 0.002, combined AutomA and SmartmA), and image noise increased (144%, p = 0.002; AutomA). No increase in dose or image noise was observed with overlying zippers or underwires or when any object was visible in the topogram outside the field of view of the axial images. Conclusions: Overlying personal items were observed in the majority of abdominopelvic CT scans. Large overlying radiopaque personal items resulted in increased dose and increased image noise. Removal of all overlying personal items will result in optimized dose and image quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Problems in Diagnostic Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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