Establishing a quality assurance program for photon counting detector (PCD) CT: Tips and caveats.

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Journal of applied clinical medical physics [electronic resource] / American College of Medical Physics


PURPOSE: To determine the suitability of a quality assurance (QA) program based on the American College of Radiology's (ACR) CT quality control (QC) manual to fully evaluate the unique capabilities of a clinical photon-counting-detector (PCD) CT system.

METHODS: A daily QA program was established to evaluate CT number accuracy and artifacts for both standard and ultra-high-resolution (UHR) scan modes. A complete system performance evaluation was conducted in accordance with the ACR CT QC manual by scanning the CT Accreditation Phantom with routine clinical protocols and reconstructing low-energy-threshold (T3D) and virtual monoenergetic images (VMIs) between 40 and 120 keV. Spatial resolution was evaluated by computing the modulation transfer function (MTF) for the UHR mode, and multi-energy performance was evaluated by scanning a body phantom containing four iodine inserts with concentrations between 2 and 15 mg I/cc.

RESULTS: The daily QA program identified instances when the detector needed recalibration or replacement. CT number accuracy was impacted by image type: CT numbers at 70 keV VMI were within the acceptable range (defined for 120 kV). Other keV VMIs and the T3D reconstruction had at least one insert with CT number outside the acceptable range. The limiting resolution was nearly 40 lp/cm based on MTF measurements, which far exceeds the 12 lp/cm maximum capability of the ACR phantom. The CT numbers in the iodine inserts were accurate on all VMIs (3.8% average percentage error), while the iodine concentrations had an average root mean squared error of 0.3 mg I/cc.

CONCLUSION: Protocols and parameters must be properly selected on PCD-CT to meet current accreditation requirements with the ACR CT phantom. Use of the 70 keV VMI allowed passing all tests prescribed in the ACR CT manual. Additional evaluations such an MTF measurement and multi-energy phantom scans are also recommended to comprehensively evaluate PCD-CT scanner performance.





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