Comparisons with other data

The data calculated with PCXMC versions 1.2­–1.5 have been earlier compared to the organ dose conversion factors calculated in NRPB by Jones and Wall (1985) and Hart et al. (1994b, 1996b) and were found to agree well. This agreement was to be expected, because also their data were calculated using the phantom models of Cristy (1980). Reasonable agreement of PCXMC results has also been found in many comparisons with other dose calculations and phantom models or dose measurements, e.g., Tapiovaara et al (1997), Schmidt et al (2000), Schultz et al (2003) and Helmrot et al (2007). The agreement with the NRPB data still exists for PCXMC 2.0 for most irradiation conditions. Small differences are evident in some irradiation conditions, because the composition and density of the phantom tissues have been changed and the phantoms have been modified from the earlier versions of the program. This is depicted in Fig. 4, which compares doses in some organs calculated with PCXMC versions 1.5.2 and 2.0 for a PA-direction photon irradiation of the head and neck. As can be expected from the differences in the phantom models, doses to the brain and thyroid are higher in the new version, whereas the dose in the muscle tissue is lower. The change in the oesophagus model and the change in the composition of active bone marrow also result in differences between these program versions.

Figure 4. A comparison of the organ dose conversion factors calculated by PCXMC versions 1.5.2 and 2.0. All doses correspond to an entrance air kerma (free-in-air) of 1 Gy. Newborn patient, irradiation of the head and neck, PA projection, FSD 100 cm, x-ray tube voltage 70 kV, filtration 3 mm Al, 17o x-ray tube anode angle. The error bars shown correspond to two standard errors of the data.

Figures 5 and 6 compare organ dose data for two x-ray examinations, adult PA chest and paediatric AP abdomen, from PCXMC versions 1.2 and 2.0 and the data of NRPB. For the purpose of comparison, the NRPB data below have been renormalized to correspond to an air kerma (free-in-air) of 1 Gy. It is seen that in these examinations the conversion factors of most organs have not changed appreciably from the earlier versions of PCXMC. Exceptions to this are the active bone marrow, oesophagus and thyroid, where changes in the composition, modelling or surroundings, respectively, have been made. Similar changes can be expected also for other organs that have been modified from the earlier version, e.g. the breast of the 15-year-old phantom.

Figure 5. A comparison of the organ dose conversion factors calculated by PCXMC versions 1.2 and 2.0 with the data of Jones and Wall (1985 , NRPB data with error bars) and Hart et al. (1994b, NRPB data without error bars). All doses correspond to an incident air kerma of 1 Gy. Adult patient, chest examination, PA projection, x-ray tube voltage 120 kV, filtration 3 mm Al, 17o x-ray tube anode angle, FSD 160 cm,. The error bars shown correspond to two standard errors of the data.

Figure 6. A comparison of the organ dose conversion factors calculated by PCXMC versions 1.2 and 2.0 with the data of Hart et al. (1996b). All doses correspond to an entrance air kerma (free-in-air) of 1 Gy. 1-year-old patient, abdomen examination, AP projection, x-ray tube voltage 70 kV, filtration 3 mm Al, 17o x-ray tube anode angle, FSD 92 cm. The error bars shown correspond to two standard errors of the data.

As was already noted above, the organ doses calculated are strictly valid only for the phantoms used for the calculation. To illustrate differences between different phantom models, we have compared organ dose conversion data calculated with PCXMC to the data of Schlattl et al (2007) who have calculated dose conversion factors for whole body external exposure of photons using voxel phantoms ‘Rex’ and ‘Regina’ that are expected to be adopted as the standard human models by the ICRP. Figure 7 shows their conversion coefficient from air kerma to effective dose as a function of photon energy for total body irradiation from the front (AP-direction) and back (PA-direction). The conversion factors of PCXMC have been calculated as an average of the effective doses of two adult phantoms which have been matched to the height and mass of Rex and Regina. The agreement between the data calculated with PCXMC and the data of Schlattl et al (2007) is remarkable in the AP irradiation case, and reasonable in the PA irradiation case. 

Figure 8 shows the photon energy dependence of the conversion coefficient from air kerma to the dose in salivary glands. The data of Schlattl et al (2007) are given for both their phantoms, Rex and Regina, and the data calculated with PCXMC are obtained by hermaphrodite phantoms matched to the height and mass of Rex and Regina.

The largest difference between the dose conversion factors of Schlattl et al (2007) and PCXMC are in the doses in bones: the values calculated with PCXMC are about 50 % larger, depending on the photon energy. This is probably due to the difference in bone modelling. PCXMC uses the homogeneous bone-approximation whereas the bone model of Schlattl et al consider cortical bone and spongiosa separately and calculate the dose in the spongiosa only: the effect of the cortical part is to shield the spongiosa, and the dose in the spongiosa is reduced. Generally, the doses reported in Schlattl et al (2007) correspond to the size-matched phantom data of PCXMC to within about 20 %, and are sometimes lower and sometimes higher. For some organs the data (e.g., thyroid, skin, lungs, female liver and female thyroid) agree notably better, within about 5–10 % for energies above 20 keV. Typically, the doses in the two different-sized phantoms vary less in PCXMC than they do in the data of Schlattl et al. An example of typical organ data, the stomach, is shown in Fig 9.

Figure 7. A comparison of the photon energy dependence of conversion factors from air kerma to effective dose. The data of Schlattl et al (2007) are represented as curves and data points calculated with PCXMC 2.0 are marked with o and x. Whole body irradiation of the phantoms with monochromatic and unidirectional photons. PCXMC data calculated as the average of doses in phantoms matched to the size of the reference phantoms of Schlattl et al.

Figure 8. A comparison of the photon energy dependence of conversion factors from air kerma to the dose in salivary glands. Continuous curve: ‘Regina’ (Schlattl et al 2007); points marked with o: PCXMC data for a phantom matched in size with ‘Regina’. Broken curve: ‘Rex’ (Schlattl et al 2007); points marked with x: PCXMC data for a phantom matched in size with ‘Rex’. Whole body AP irradiation of the phantoms with monochromatic, unidirectional photons.

Figure 9. A comparison of the photon energy dependence of conversion factors from air kerma to the dose in the stomach. Continuous curve: ‘Regina’ (Schlattl et al 2007); points marked with o: PCXMC data for a phantom matched in size with ‘Regina’. Broken curve: ‘Rex’ (Schlattl et al 2007); points marked with x: PCXMC data for a phantom matched in size with ‘Rex’. Whole body AP irradiation of the phantoms with monochromatic, unidirectional photons.

The usability of the phantom size modification feature of PCXMC has been demonstrated in an extreme case by Smans et al (2008) who calculated doses in two premature babies with weights of 590 g and 1910 g. The differences between the results were explained by the differences in the phantom models and the difficulty to place an x-ray field similarly in them. The dose conversion values in that paper were made with PCXMC 1.5.2. We have repeated the calculations with PCXMC 2.0, and obtained essentially the same results as were reported in the paper of Smans et al (2008); in this case the differences between the two PCXMC versions are caused mainly by the changes in the densities and composition of the phantom tissues. The data of Smans et al. (2008) and the newly calculated results for the chest AP examination of the smaller phantom are shown in Table 5. In order to demonstrate the effect of field location in such comparisons, the table also includes PCXMC 2.0 data calculated with a slightly larger field and a downward displacement of the x-ray field by 0.5 cm.

Similar organ dose differences between computational and voxel phantoms have also been seen in the papers of Staton et al (2003), Lee et al (2006c) and Pazik et al (2007); dose differences of the same order are obtained also in doses of different voxel phantoms (Zankl et al. 2002, Schlattl et al. 2007).

Table 5. Comparison of the organ dose conversion data for a chest AP examination calculated by Smans et al (2008) with data calculated with PCXMC 2.0 for a premature baby of 590 g weight. The last column shows data calculated for the case of a slightly larger and slightly lower located x-ray field. X-ray tube voltage 65 kV, total filtration 4 mm Al, FSD 105 cm.

Organ or tissue Smans et al (2008)7x5 cm2 field, voxel phantom(Gy/Gy) PCXMC 1.5
7x5 cm2 field
(Gy/Gy)
PCXMC 2.0
7x5 cm2 field
(Gy/Gy)
PCXMC 2.0
7x6 cm2 field
0.5 cm lower
(Gy/Gy)
Active bone marrow 0.13 0.11 0.15 0.18
Adrenals 0.06 0.17 0.20 0.40
Brain 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.01
Colon 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.03
Heart 0.89 0.87 0.94 0.96
Kidneys 0.02 0.04 0.04 0.14
Liver 0.28 0.19 0.23 0.55
Lungs 0.95 0.82 0.82 0.84
Oesophagus 0.54 0.45 0.51 0.58
Pancreas 0.08 0.10 0.11 0.63
Skeleton 0.50 0.74 0.66 0.77
Skin 0.15 0.16 0.17 0.20
Small intestine 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.03
Spleen 0.47 0.11 0.13 0.45
Stomach 0.22 0.11 0.14 0.51
Testicles 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Thymus 0.93 1.05 1.05 1.06
Thyroid 0.09 0.09 0.08 0.08
Urinary bladder 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.01
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