New Image Gently “Universal” CT Protocols are now available for Head, Thorax and Abdomen
In 2008, Image Gently posted a set of simple protocols to “child-size” radiation dose for children. Updated protocols are now available to address technology improvements to CT scanners since that time. The new protocols consist of two Excel worksheets, one for body and one for head protocols, to assist with the development or review of pediatric CT protocols at your institution. Please see “Image Gently Development of Pediatric CT Protocols 2014” posted on this website. The goal is to provide guidance on how to set up techniques for all size patients, newborns to adults, which provide diagnostic image quality at well-managed radiation dose levels for any department’s or practice’s CT scanners. Protocols from one scanner to the next are not transferable unless the scanner’s design, configuration and software revision are identical. These potential differences make it difficult to estimate patient radiation dose based on technique factors (kV, mAs, and pitch). End users should therefore not estimate differences in patient dose between two different CT scanners by simply comparing the product of tube current and rotation time (mAs). You may elect to develop pediatric diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) and have your technologists adjust techniques to achieve the desired DRL when the pediatric patient arrives or you may elect to create technique charts or scanner embedded protocols for children depending on the frequency children are scanned in your department.
While matching the radiation dose delivered to the patient for all scanners in the department does not guarantee similar image quality among all possible scanners, it is a good first step. Importantly, radiologists, radiologic technologists, and the site’s qualified medical physicist (QMP) should work as a team after matching patient radiation doses on all scanners to validate image quality. Phantom images of low contrast resolution should first be evaluated followed by careful evaluation of initial clinical images to insure clinical image quality is acceptable. Click on the two links immediately following for further information.
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