We investigated comparisons between patient dose and noise in pelvic, abdominal, thoracic and head CT images using an automatic method. 113 patient images (37 pelvis, 34 abdominal, 25 thoracic, and 17 head examinations) were retrospectively and automatically examined in this study. Water-equivalent diameter (Dw), size-specific dose estimates (SSDE) and noise were automatically calculated from the center slice for every patient image. The Dw was calculated based on auto-contouring of the patients' edges, and the SSDE was calculated as the product of the volume CT dose index (CTDIvol) extracted from the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) header and the size conversion factor based on the Dw obtained from AAPM 204. The noise was automatically measured as a minimum standard deviation in the map of standard deviations. A square region of interest of about 1 cm2 was used in the automated noise measurement. The SSDE values for the pelvis, abdomen, thorax, and head were 21.8 ± 7.3 mGy, 22.0 ± 4.5 mGy, 21.5 ± 4.7 mGy, and 65.1 ± 1.7 mGy, respectively. The SSDEs for the pelvis, abdomen, and thorax increased linearly with increasing Dw, and for the head with constant tube current, the SSDE decreased with increasing Dw. The noise in the pelvis, abdomen, thorax, and head were 5.9 ± 1.5 HU, 5.2 ± 1.4 HU, 4.9 ± 0.8 HU and 3.9 ± 0.2 HU, respectively. The noise levels for the pelvis, abdomen, and thorax of the patients were relatively constant with Dw because of tube current modulation. The noise in the head image was also relatively constant because Dw variations in the head are very small. The automated approach provides a convenient and objective tool for dose optimizations.
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