Radiation Dose to the Lens of the Eye from Computed Tomography Scans of the Head

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Yoshizumi, Terry

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While it is well known that exposure to radiation can result in cataract formation, questions still remain about the presence of a dose threshold in radiation cataractogenesis. Since the exposure history from diagnostic CT exams is well documented in a patient’s medical record, the population of patients chronically exposed to radiation from head CT exams may be an interesting area to explore for further research in this area. However, there are some challenges in estimating lens dose from head CT exams. An accurate lens dosimetry model would have to account for differences in imaging protocols, differences in head size, and the use of any dose reduction methods.

The overall objective of this dissertation was to develop a comprehensive method to estimate radiation dose to the lens of the eye for patients receiving CT scans of the head. This research is comprised of a physics component, in which a lens dosimetry model was derived for head CT, and a clinical component, which involved the application of that dosimetry model to patient data.

The physics component includes experiments related to the physical measurement of the radiation dose to the lens by various types of dosimeters placed within anthropomorphic phantoms. These dosimeters include high-sensitivity MOSFETs, TLDs, and radiochromic film. The six anthropomorphic phantoms used in these experiments range in age from newborn to adult.

First, the lens dose from five clinically relevant head CT protocols was measured in the anthropomorphic phantoms with MOSFET dosimeters on two state-of-the-art CT scanners. The volume CT dose index (CTDIvol), which is a standard CT output index, was compared to the measured lens doses. Phantom age-specific CTDIvol-to-lens dose conversion factors were derived using linear regression analysis. Since head size can vary among individuals of the same age, a method was derived to estimate the CTDIvol-to-lens dose conversion factor using the effective head diameter. These conversion factors were derived for each scanner individually, but also were derived with the combined data from the two scanners as a means to investigate the feasibility of a scanner-independent method. Using the scanner-independent method to derive the CTDIvol-to-lens dose conversion factor from the effective head diameter, most of the fitted lens dose values fell within 10-15% of the measured values from the phantom study, suggesting that this is a fairly accurate method of estimating lens dose from the CTDIvol with knowledge of the patient’s head size.

Second, the dose reduction potential of organ-based tube current modulation (OB-TCM) and its effect on the CTDIvol-to-lens dose estimation method was investigated. The lens dose was measured with MOSFET dosimeters placed within the same six anthropomorphic phantoms. The phantoms were scanned with the five clinical head CT protocols with OB-TCM enabled on the one scanner model at our institution equipped with this software. The average decrease in lens dose with OB-TCM ranged from 13.5 to 26.0%. Using the size-specific method to derive the CTDIvol-to-lens dose conversion factor from the effective head diameter for protocols with OB-TCM, the majority of the fitted lens dose values fell within 15-18% of the measured values from the phantom study.

Third, the effect of gantry angulation on lens dose was investigated by measuring the lens dose with TLDs placed within the six anthropomorphic phantoms. The 2-dimensional spatial distribution of dose within the areas of the phantoms containing the orbit was measured with radiochromic film. A method was derived to determine the CTDIvol-to-lens dose conversion factor based upon distance from the primary beam scan range to the lens. The average dose to the lens region decreased substantially for almost all the phantoms (ranging from 67 to 92%) when the orbit was exposed to scattered radiation compared to the primary beam. The effectiveness of this method to reduce lens dose is highly dependent upon the shape and size of the head, which influences whether or not the angled scan range coverage can include the entire brain volume and still avoid the orbit.

The clinical component of this dissertation involved performing retrospective patient studies in the pediatric and adult populations, and reconstructing the lens doses from head CT examinations with the methods derived in the physics component. The cumulative lens doses in the patients selected for the retrospective study ranged from 40 to 1020 mGy in the pediatric group, and 53 to 2900 mGy in the adult group.

This dissertation represents a comprehensive approach to lens of the eye dosimetry in CT imaging of the head. The collected data and derived formulas can be used in future studies on radiation-induced cataracts from repeated CT imaging of the head. Additionally, it can be used in the areas of personalized patient dose management, and protocol optimization and clinician training.





Januzis, Natalie Ann (2016). Radiation Dose to the Lens of the Eye from Computed Tomography Scans of the Head. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12149.


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