Purpose: The highest photon fluence rate that a computed tomography (CT) detector must be able to measure is an important parameter. The authors calculate the maximum transmitted fluence rate in a commercial CT scanner as a function of patient size for standard head, chest, and abdomen protocols.
Methods: The authors scanned an anthropomorphic phantom (Kyoto Kagaku PBU-60) with the reference CT protocols provided by AAPM on a GE LightSpeed VCT scanner and noted the tube current applied with the tube current modulation (TCM) system. By rescaling this tube current using published measurements on the tube current modulation of a GE scanner [N. Keat, “CT scanner automatic exposure control systems,” MHRA Evaluation Report 05016, ImPACT, London, UK, 2005], the authors could estimate the tube current that these protocols would have resulted in for other patient sizes. An ECG gated chest protocol was also simulated. Using measured dose rate profiles along the bowtie filters, the authors simulated imaging of anonymized patient images with a range of sizes on a GE VCT scanner and calculated the maximum transmitted fluence rate. In addition, the 99th and the 95th percentiles of the transmitted fluence rate distribution behind the patient are calculated and the effect of omitting projection lines passing just below the skin line is investigated.
Results: The highest transmitted fluence rates on the detector for the AAPM reference protocols with centered patients are found for head images and for intermediate-sized chest images, both with a maximum of 3.4 ⋅ 108 mm−2 s−1, at 949 mm distance from the source. Miscentering the head by 50 mm downward increases the maximum transmitted fluence rate to 5.7 ⋅ 108 mm−2 s−1. The ECG gated chest protocol gives fluence rates up to 2.3 ⋅ 108 − 3.6 ⋅ 108 mm−2 s−1 depending on miscentering.
Conclusions: The fluence rate on a CT detector reaches 3 ⋅ 108 − 6 ⋅ 108 mm−2 s−1 in standard imaging protocols, with the highest rates occurring for ECG gated chest and miscentered head scans. These results will be useful to developers of CT detectors, in particular photon counting detectors.
American Association of Physicists in Medicine , 2016. Vol. 43, no 7, 4398-4411 p.