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Obese patients face higher radiation exposure from CT scans -- but new technology can help
Date:4/5/2012

1-9155/57/9/2441">http://m.iopscience.iop.org/0031-9155/57/9/2441

Currently, if technicians use normal equipment settings to perform a CT scan on an obese patient, the resulting images are blurry as the X-ray photons have to travel further and make their way through layers of fat. As a result, technicians generally adjust the equipment to a more powerful setting, which produces a better image but exposes the obese patient to additional radiation. There is no mechanism for discerning the setting levels that will provide an optimal balance of the highest image clarity and the lowest radiation dose.

These new phantoms for overweight and obese patients will be part of a forthcoming software package, VirtualDose, developed by Xu and his team. VirtualDose aims to enable the creation of a personalized, ultra-realistic phantom of any patient undergoing a CT scan. The program takes into consideration a patient's individual characteristics, including age, sex, height, weight, and even if a woman is pregnant. By entering these data into the software, VirtualDose quickly creates a phantom that accurately models the patient's internal organs. These phantoms will allow physicians and researchers to compare the radiation doses a patient will get from different CT scanner settings, and then choose the most appropriate configuration.

VirtualDose will also enable physicians to keep a highly accurate record of how much radiation patients are exposed to over their lifetime. California recently became the first state in the United States to require radiation dose records for patients undergoing CT examinations.


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Contact: Michael Mullaney
mullam@rpi.edu
518-276-6161
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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Obese patients face higher radiation exposure from CT scans -- but new technology can help
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