Performance evaluation of an 85-cm-bore X-ray computed tomography scanner designed for radiation oncology and comparison with current diagnostic CT scanners

Jose L. Garcia-Ramirez, Sasa Mutic, James F. Dempsey, Daniel A. Low, James A. Purdy

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40 Scopus citations


Introduction: The demand for computed tomography (CT) virtual simulation is constantly increasing with the wider adoption of three-dimensional conformal and intensity-modulated radiation therapy. Virtual simulation CT studies are typically acquired on conventional diagnostic scanners equipped with an external patient positioning laser system and specialized planning and visualization software. Virtual simulation technology has matured to a point where conventional simulators may be replaced with CT scanners. However, diagnostic CT scanner gantry bores (typically 65-70 cm) can present an obstacle to the CT simulation process by limiting patient positions, compared to those that can be attained in a conventional simulator. For example, breast cancer patients cannot always be scanned in the treatment position without compromising reproducibility and appropriateness of setup. Extremely large patients or patients requiring special immobilization or large setup devices are often unable to enter the limited-bore gantry. A dedicated 85-cm-bore radiation oncology CT scanner has the potential to eliminate these problems. The scanner should provide diagnostic-quality images at diagnostic-comparable dose levels. The purpose of this study was to independently evaluate the performance of a novel 85-cm-bore CT X-ray scanner designed specifically for radiation oncology and compare it against diagnostic-type, 70-cm-bore scanners that may be used in the same setting. Methods and Materials: We performed image quality and dosimetric measurements on an 85-cm-bore CT scanner (AcQSim CT, Marconi Medical Systems, Inc., Cleveland, OH) and a 70-cm-bore, diagnostic-type scanner (UltraZ CT, Marconi Medical Systems, Inc.). Image quality measurements were performed using a manufacturer-supplied phantom (Performance Phantom, Marconi Medical Systems, Inc.), following the manufacturer's suggested testing procedures, and an independent image quality phantom (CATPHAN 500, The Phantom Laboratory, New York, NY). The standard image quality parameters evaluated for the purpose of comparison were as follows: slice thickness accuracy, high-contrast resolution (limiting spatial resolution), low-contrast resolution, uniformity and noise, and CT number accuracy and linearity. Standard head and body protocols were employed throughout most of our measurements and were kept equal between the two scanners. The computed tomography dose index was measured for standard head and body imaging protocols using accepted methods and procedures. For comparison purposes, data for a diagnostic-type, 70-cm-bore scanner (GE HighSpeed CT/i) were extracted from the literature. The results obtained for the 85-cm-bore scanner are compared with the following: (1) manufacturer-provided autoperformance phantom test results (validating its use for routine quality assurance), (2) a similar set of measurements performed on a conventional 70-cm-bore, diagnostic-type CT scanner (UltraZ CT, Marconi Medical Systems, Inc.), and (3) current available data on other diagnostic-type CT scanners (GE HighSpeed CT/i). Results: Head and body doses seem on average to be slightly (1-2 cGy) higher for the 85-cm-bore unit than for conventional 70-cm units. Measured slice thickness was within acceptable criteria, ±0.5 mm. There does not seem to be any significant difference in high-contrast resolution. Both units render a limiting value of ∼7-8 lp/cm for slice thickness 8-10 mm. Both units exhibit comparable CT number uniformity, accuracy, and linearity. Noise levels seem to be slightly increased (by ∼0.05-0.2%) for the large-bore geometry. Low-contrast resolution for both units was comparable (4.5-5.5 mm @ 0.35%). All image quality parameters are well within diagnostic acceptable levels. Conclusion: The overall imaging performance and mechanical integrity of the 85-cm-bore scanner are comparable to those of conventional diagnostic scanners that may be employed in a radiation oncology setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1123-1131
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 15 2002


  • Computed tomography
  • Virtual simulation


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