Considerations on an automatic computed tomography tube current modulation system

Luca Moro, Denis Panizza, Daniela D'Ambrosio, Irene Carne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The scope of this study was to evaluate the effects on radiation output and image noise varying the acquisition parameters with an automatic tube current modulation (ATCM) system in computed tomography (CT). Chest CT examinations of an anthropomorphic phantom were acquired using a GE LightSpeed VCT 64-slice tomograph. Acquisitions were performed using different pitch, slice thickness and noise index (NI) values and varying the orientation of the scanned projection radiograph (SPR). The radiation output was determined by the CT dose index (CTDIvol). Image noise was evaluated measuring the standard deviation of CT numbers in several regions of interest. The radiation output was lower if the SPR was acquired in the anterior-posterior projection. The radiation dose with the posterior-anterior SPR was higher, because the divergence of the X-ray beam magnifies the anatomical structures closest to the tube, especially the spinal column, and this leads the ATCM system to estimate higher patient attenuation values and, therefore, to select higher tube current values. The NI was inversely proportional to the square root of the CTDIvol and, with fixed NI, the CTDIvol increased as the slice thickness decreased. This study suggests some important issues to use the GE ATCM system efficiently.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbernct095
Pages (from-to)525-530
Number of pages6
JournalRadiation Protection Dosimetry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiation
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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