Body morphometry appropriate computational phantoms for dose and risk optimization in pediatric renal imaging with Tc-99m DMSA and Tc-99m MAG3

Justin L. Brown, Briana Sexton-Stallone, Ye Li, Eric C. Frey, S. Ted Treves, Frederic H. Fahey, Donika Plyku, Xinhua Cao, George Sgouros, Wesley E. Bolch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current guidelines for administered activity (AA) in pediatric nuclear medicine imaging studies are based on a 2016 harmonization of the 2010 North American Consensus guidelines and the 2007 European Association of Nuclear Medicine pediatric dosage card. These guidelines assign AA scaled to patient body mass, with further constraints on maximum and minimum values of radiopharmaceutical activity. These guidelines, however, are not formulated based upon a rigor-ous evaluation of diagnostic image quality. In a recent study of the renal cortex imaging agent 99mTc-DMSA (Li Y et al 2019), body mass-based dosing guidelines were shown to not give the same level of image quality for patients of differing body mass. Their data suggest that patient girth at the level of the kidneys may be a better morphometric parameter to consider when selecting AA for renal nuclear medicine imaging. The objective of the present work was thus to develop a dedicated series of computational phantoms to support image quality and organ dose studies in pediatric renal imaging using 99mTc-DMSA or 99mTc-MAG3. The final library consists of 50 male and female phantoms of ages 0 to 15 years, with percentile variations (5th to 95th) in waist circumference (WC) at each age. For each phantom, nominal values of kidney volume, length, and depth were incorporated into the phantom design. Organ absorbed doses, detriment-weighted doses, and stochastic risks were assessed using ICRP reference biokinetic models for both agents. In Monte Carlo radiation transport simulations, organ doses for these agents yielded detriment-weighted dose coefficients (mSv/MBq) that were in general larger than current ICRP values of the effective dose coefficients (age and WC-averaged ratios of eDW/e were 1.40 for the male phantoms and 1.49 for the female phantoms). Values of risk index (ratio of radiation-induced to natural background cancer incidence risk x 100) varied between 0.062 (newborns) to 0.108 (15-year-olds) for 99mTc-DMSA and between 0.026 (newborns) to 0.122 (15-year-olds) for 99mTc-MAG3. Using tallies of photon exit fluence as a rough surrogate for uniform image quality, our study demonstrated that through body region-of-interest optimization of AA, there is the potential for further dose and risk reductions of between factors of 1.5 to 3.0 beyond simple weight-based dosing guidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235026
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 25 2020


  • Administered activity guidelines
  • Computational phantoms
  • Dose reduction/optimization
  • Organ dosimetry
  • Renal imaging studies
  • Tc-99m dmsa
  • Tc-99m mag3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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