Determining organ doses from CT with direct measurements in postmortem subjects: Part 1-methodology and validation

Thomas M. Griglock, Lindsay Sinclair, Anna Mench, Brian Cormack, Sharatchandra Bidari, Lynn Rill, Manuel Arreola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: To develop a methodology that allows direct measurement of organ doses from computed tomographic (CT) examinations of postmortem subjects. Materials and Methods: In this institutional review board approved study, the X-ray linear attenuation coefficients of various tissues were calculated from the mean CT numbers of images that were obtained in eight embalmed adult female cadavers and compared with the corresponding linear attenuation coefficients calculated from CT images obtained in eight living patients that were body mass index (BMI)-matched. Dosimetry was performed in three of the cadavers by accessing organs of interest and affixing partially sealed vinyl tubes inside them. Optically stimulated luminescent dosimeters (OSLDs) were inserted into the tubes and positioned within the organs of interest and on the skin. OSLDs were read with an InLight MicroStar (Landauer, Glenwood, Ill) reader, and readings were corrected for energy and scatter response. Fifteen tubes containing dosimeters were used, and imaging was repeated twice in each cadaver, for a total of five standard clinical protocols. Average dosimetry values were used for analysis. Results: Differences in linear attenuation coefficients between living and embalmed cadaveric tissues were within 3% for the tissues investigated. Measured organ doses for a chest-abdomen-pelvis CT protocol were less than 32 mGy for all organs measured. Organs that were completely irradiated during a given examination received similar doses, whereas organs that were partially irradiated displayed a large variation in measured organ dose. Conclusion: The anatomic and radiation attenuation characteristics of cadavers are comparable to those of living human tissue. This methodology allows direct measurement of organ doses from clinical CT examinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-470
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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