Purpose: To evaluate the quality of low-dose computed tomography (CT) images in the follow-up of cancer patients. Materials and methods: We selected patients with urogenital (n=7) or esophageal cancer (n=13) who were attending routine follow-up between April and July 2001. After water and chest phantom studies to decide the scan parameters, postcontrast low-dose CT scans were obtained at 60 mA (45 mA s) with a smoothing kernel. Three radiologists reviewed the CT scans of the thorax independently for overall image quality and anatomic detail in both mediastinal and lung windows. They subjectively rated the images on a four-point scale (0: poor, 1: fair, 2: good, 3: excellent) according to graininess and sharpness. Results: The average score of the low-dose CT for the lung window was 2.85, which was equivalent to control images. The average score for the mediastinal window was 1.77, which was lower than that of the control CT scan (2.62, P<0.001) and almost identical to that of the chest phantom experiment. Nine of the 20 cases had abnormal findings; low-dose CT scans depicted them well and offered sufficient information for diagnosis. The radiation exposure was reduced by about half. Conclusion: The image quality of low-dose thoracic CT was satisfactory for both mediastinal and lung windows in the follow-up of cancer patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging