Spectral shaping via tin prefiltration has gained recognition for dose saving in high-contrast imaging tasks. The aim of this phantom dosimetry study was to investigate whether the use of tin filters can also reduce the effective radiation dose in 100 kVp abdominal computed tomography (CT) compared with standard low-dose scans for suspected urolithiasis. Using a third-generation dual-source CT scanner, 4 scan protocols each were used on a standard (P1-P4) and a modified obese Alderson-Rando phantom (P5-P8), in which 11 urinary stones of different compositions were placed. Hereby 1 scan protocol represented standard low-dose settings (P1/P5: 110 kVp/120 kVp), whereas 3 experimental protocols used low-kilovoltage spectral shaping (P2/P3/P4 and P6/P7/P8: 100 kVp with tin prefiltration). Radiation dose was recorded by thermoluminescent dosimeters at 24 measurement sites. For objective assessment of image quality, dose-weighted contrast-to-noise ratios were calculated and compared between scan protocols. Additional subjective image quality analysis was performed by 2 radiologists using equidistant 5-point scales for estimation image noise, artifacts, kidney stone detectability, and delineation of bone and soft tissue. Both conventional low-dose protocols without tin prefiltration were associated with the highest individual equivalent doses and the highest effective radiation dose in the experimental setup (P1: 0.29-6.43 mGy, 1.45-1.83 mSv; P5: 0.50-9.35 mGy, 2.33-2.79 mSv). With no false-positive diagnoses, both readers correctly detected each of the 11 urinary calculi irrespective of scan protocol and phantom configuration. Protocols using spectral shaping via tin prefiltration allowed for effective radiation dose reduction of up to 38% on the standard phantom and 18% on the modified obese phantom, while maintaining overall diagnostic image quality. Effective dose was approximately 10% lower in a male versus female anatomy and could be reduced by another 10% if gonadal protection was used (P < 0.001). Spectral shaping via tin prefiltration at 100 kVp is a suitable means to reduce the effective radiation dose in abdominal CT imaging of patients with suspected urolithiasis. The dose reduction potential is slightly less pronounced in a modified phantom emulating an obese body composition compared with a standard phantom.

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