Methods for post Hoc quantitative computed tomography bone density calibration: Phantom-only and regression
Journal of Biomechanical Engineering
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© 2018 by ASME. Quantitative computed tomography (qCT) relies on calibrated bone mineral density data. If a calibration phantom is absent from the CT scan, post hoc calibration becomes necessary. Scanning a calibration phantom after-the-fact and applying that calibration to uncalibrated scans has been used previously. Alternatively, the estimated density is known to vary with CT settings, suggesting that it may be possible to predict the calibration terms using CT settings. This study compares a novel CT setting regression method for post hoc calibration to standard and post hoc phantom-only calibrations. Five cadaveric upper limbs were scanned at 11 combinations of peak tube voltage and current (80-140 kV and 100-300 mA) with two calibration phantoms. Density calibrations were performed for the cadaver scans, and scans of the phantoms alone. Stepwise linear regression determined if the calibration equation terms were predictable using peak tube voltage and current. Peak tube voltage, but not current, was significantly correlated with regression calibration terms. Calibration equation slope was significantly related to the type of phantom (p < 0.001), calibration method (p = 0.026), and peak tube voltage (p < 0.001), but not current (p = 1.000). The calibration equation vertical intercept was significantly related to the type of phantom (p < 0.001), and peak tube voltage (p = 0.006), but not calibration method (p = 0.682), or current (p = 0.822). Accordingly, regression can correlate peak tube voltage with density calibration terms. Suggesting that, while standard qCT calibration is preferable, regression calibration may be an acceptable post hoc method when necessary.