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Kilovoltage Dependence of the Attenuation of a Potassium Iodide/Water Solution on CT: Presentation of a Computer Model Implementing Polychromatic Character of the X-Ray Photon Beam

Violon, Daniel MD

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: September/October 2012 - Volume 36 - Issue 5 - p 602–609
doi: 10.1097/RCT.0b013e31825eaeac
Image Processing and Technical Developments

Purpose To describe a program that simulates a computed tomographic scan with the polychromatic aspect of the output of the x-ray tube implemented. This program can be used in the study of the attenuation of different solutions/solutes. These results can subsequently guide the radiologist to obtain a satisfying contrast enhancement at lower tube voltages and eventually lower contrast volumes.

Materials and Methods A Matlab program was written to simulate a computed tomographic scan. The spectrum of the x-ray tube at different kilovoltages was generated with another program (XOP) and used as input. Beam-hardening correction and zero padding were added. The results were validated with attenuation measurements of a corresponding potassium iodide solution in water.

Results There was a good agreement between the calculated and measured attenuations; the calculated results matched with the measured values and fell within a 5% deviation.

Conclusion It is possible to simulate correctly the attenuation of a potassium iodide in water solution in silico. This can be helpful to determine kilovoltages, administered contrast medium volumes and concentrations to reduce the irradiation of the patients, and obtain equally good contrast enhancement on a basis other than empirical.

From the Department of Radiology, Heilig-Hartziekenhuis Roeselare-Menen, Menen, Belgium.

Received for publication January 29, 2012; accepted May 9, 2012.

Reprints: Daniel Violon, MD, L. Vissenaekenstraat 50 b61, 2600 Antwerp, Belgium (e-mail:

At the time of the practical experiments, the author was scientific consultant to the Gasthuisberg Universitary Hospital, KULeuven, Belgium (then chairperson of the department, Prof Dr G Marchal; current chairperson, Prof Dr R Oyen).

The author reports no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.