Purpose: To evaluate the differences in pediatric non-contrast low-dose head computed tomography (CT) between filtered-back projection and iterative model reconstruction using objective and subjective image quality evaluation. Methods: A retrospective study evaluated children undergoing low-dose non-contrast head CT. All CT scans were reconstructed using both filtered-back projection and iterative model reconstruction. Objective image quality analysis was performed using contrast and signal-to-noise ratios for the supra- and infratentorial brain regions of identical regions of interest on the two reconstruction methods. Two experienced pediatric neuroradiologists evaluated subjective image quality, visibility of structures, and artifacts. Results: We evaluated 233 low-dose brain CT scans of 148 pediatric patients. There was a ∼2-fold improvement in the contrast-to-noise ratio between gray and white matter in the infra- and supratentorial regions (p < 0.001) using iterative model reconstruction compared to filtered-back projection. The white and gray matter signal-to-noise ratio improved more than 2-fold using iterative model reconstruction (p < 0.001). Furthermore, radiologists graded anatomical details, gray-white matter differentiation, beam hardening artifacts, and image quality using iterative model reconstructions as superior to filtered-back projection reconstructions. Conclusion: Iterative model reconstructions had better contrast-to-noise and signal-to-noise ratios with fewer artifacts in pediatric CT brain scans using low-dose radiation protocols. This image quality improvement was demonstrated in the supra- and infratentorial regions. This method thus comprises an important tool for reducing children’s exposure while maintaining diagnostic capability.
- Computed tomography
- Iterative reconstruction