Original Investigation| Volume 23, ISSUE 2, P209-219, February 2016

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Impact of an Infant Transport Mattress on CT Dose and Image Quality

Published:November 25, 2015DOI:

      Rationale and Objectives

      Neonates are at increased risk for cold stress and hypothermia in cool environments. An infant transport mattress (ITM) is commonly used to increase neonate temperature during transport and has been used during CT scanning. This study determined the impact of an ITM on radiation dose and image artifacts during CT scanning.

      Materials and Methods

      CT images from a single clinical patient scanned with an ITM were reviewed, and observations of image artifacts were recorded. A phantom was scanned with and without the ITM while varying tube-current modulation, reconstruction method, slice thickness, metal reduction algorithm, tube voltage, and tube current. The effects of the ITM on computed tomography dose index (CTDIvol), mean Hounsfield unit (HU), and HU standard deviation were recorded.


      The clinical patient scan demonstrated significantly decreased mean HU and increased HU standard deviation. In the phantom, the ITM increased CTDIvol 27% and induced an artifact that decreased the mean HU by 3.5 HU and increased HU standard deviation by 4.6 HU. Angular tube-current modulation, strong iterative reconstruction, thick slices, metal artifact reduction, and high mA reduced the artifact.


      Using ITM during CT scanning is not recommended given the relatively brief scanning time, increased dose, and induced image artifacts. Based on our results, several acquisition parameters may be altered to mitigate the image artifact if an ITM is required during scanning.

      Key Words

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      ITM (infant transport mattress), CT (computed tomography), AP (anteroposterior), CTDIvol (computed tomography dose index), ROI (region of interest), TCM (tube-current modulation), SSDE (size-specific dose estimate), HU (Hounsfield units)
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