ARRS: CT dose reduction maintains image quality

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CHICAGO—CT dose reduction strategies can be implemented to meet patient safety goals while also maintaining radiologists’ satisfaction with image quality, according to a study presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS).

Alisa Kanfi, MD, a radiologist with Hartford HealthCare in Hartford, Conn., designed the study to evaluate CT dose in an outpatient setting before and after implementation of dose reducing techniques.

Kanfi and colleagues assessed a dose reduction project at Jefferson Radiology, a 50-physician practice equipped with an assortment of GE Healthcare CT scanners.

The researchers prospectively collected dose length product (DLP) and retrospectively reviewed the data for 3,913 CT studies over a three-month period prior to and following implementation of dose reduction strategies in GE’s FeatherLight protocol training program. The practice emphasized multiple strategies, including increased noise index, decreased kVp and gantry adjustments.

After the program, the practice attained statistically significant dose reductions in pelvis studies (-21.7 percent), lumbar spine studies (-18.5 percent), chest and abdomen studies (-18.7 percent), chest studies (-6.2 percent) and head studies (-2.2 percent), reported Kanfi.

The second part of the study comprised a pre- and post-dose reduction strategy survey completed by 48 radiologists.

Radiologists’ overall satisfaction for image quality held steady at 90 percent for both pre- and post-dose reduction studies. And 44 of the 48 radiologists expressed their willingness to trade dose for noise in certain patient populations, such as pediatric patients.

“However, 47 percent of radiologists felt that dose reduction may have limited the accuracy in providing a diagnosis in several of their cases,” Kanfi said.

“In the setting of increased public awareness of radiation dose, we believe reduction strategies can be utilized effectively without a significant decrease in radiologist satisfaction,” she concluded.