Effect of tube voltage on ct noise levels in different phantom sizes

Boaz Karmazyn, Yun Liang, Paul Klahr, S. Gregory Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of lowering tube voltage on dose and noise in cylindric water phantoms to optimize quality and decrease the radiation dose for body CT. MATERIALS AND METHODS. We performed CT on cylindric water phantoms with diameters of 10, 20, 25, and 30 cm, simulating the abdomen of an infant, child, adolescent, and adult. We used tube voltages of 120, 100, and 80 kVp. The CT dose index (32-cm reference) ranged from 1 to 10 mGy in 10- and 20-cm phantoms and from 2 to 20 mGy in the 25- and 30-cm phantoms. The noise was measured at the center and periphery of the scans. Central and peripheral doses were measured in 16- and 32-cm CT dose index phantoms, and the ratio of central to peripheral doses was calculated. RESULTS. At the same noise levels, there was no significant increase in dose in 10-cm cylindric water phantoms when tube voltage was decreased to either 80 or 100 kVp. In 20-, 25-, and 30-cm phantoms, there was a 1-6% increase in dose when tube voltage was decreased to 100 kVp. Central-to-peripheral noise ratios increased 7-37% with increased phantom size. The measured peripheral dose increased as much as 5%. CONCLUSION. Our findings support the practice of lowering tube voltage to 80 kVp for imaging of infants and to 100 kVp for imaging of older children. The increase in peripheral dose with decreased tube voltage is minimal and is unlikely to cause substantial change in the effective dose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1005
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2013


  • CT
  • Noise
  • Pediatric
  • Radiation dose
  • Tube voltage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Medicine(all)

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