We present a new image quality assessment method for determining whether reducing radiation dose impairs the image quality of computed tomography (CT) in qualitative and quantitative clinical analyses tasks. In this Institutional Review Board-exempt study, we conducted a review of 50 patients (male, 22; female, 28) who underwent reduced-dose CT scanning on the first follow-up after standard-dose multiphase CT scanning. Scans were for surveillance of von Hippel-Lindau disease (N = 26) and renal cell carcinoma (N = 10). We investigated density, morphometric, and structural differences between scans both at tissue (fat, bone) and organ levels (liver, heart, spleen, lung). To quantify structural variations caused by image quality differences, we propose using the following metrics: dice similarity coefficient, structural similarity index, Hausdorff distance, gradient magnitude similarity deviation, and weighted spectral distance. Pearson correlation coefficient and Welch 2-sample t test were used for quantitative comparisons of organ morphometry and to compare density distribution of tissue, respectively. For qualitative evaluation, 2-sided Kendall Tau test was used to assess agreement among readers. Both qualitative and quantitative evaluations were designed to examine significance of image differences for clinical tasks. Qualitative judgment served as an overall assessment, whereas detailed quantifications on structural consistency, intensity homogeneity, and texture similarity revealed more accurate and global difference estimations. Qualitative and quantitative results indicated no significant image quality degradation. Our study concludes that low(er)-dose CT scans can be routinely used because of no significant loss in quantitative image information compared with standard-dose CT scans.
- image analysis
- image quality assessment
- intensity-based quantification
- quantitative analysis
- volumetric quantification
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging