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MRP4002 - Computed tomography: Science and technology

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: A/Prof Marilyn Baird


Clayton First semester 2008 (Off-campus)
Clayton Second semester 2008 (Off-campus)


The scientific principles and clinical applications of computed tomography (CT) as an imaging tool in diagnostic medicine. Emphasis is placed on the planning protocols in sequence, single slice helical and multi-slice scanning, data acquisition and image reconstruction and display methods. The maintenance of image quality and the concepts of low contrast detectability, spatial resolution and artefacts. Scanning modes, safety and instrument calibration.


On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the basic elements of a CT scanning system;
  2. Explain the development of CT scanners in terms of design generations;
  3. Define the terms such as ray-path, ray-sum, attentuation and linear attenuation coefficient;
  4. Describe the photon energy and material property dependence of the linear attenuation coefficient;
  5. Sketch a typical CT sinogram and explain its derivation for various CT generations;
  6. Define, in very general terms, the CT image reconstruction process;
  7. Explain the CT display in terms of the Hounsfield Unit and window and level controls;
  8. Communicate an understanding of the pre and post-processing methods involved in CT data acquisition and image display;
  9. Describe the structure and composition of detector arrangements for 2,4,8 & 16 slice CT;
  10. Differentiate between the protocol planning procedures for sequence, single slice helical and multi-slice scanning;
  11. Explain how CT images may be corrupted and describe CT image artefacts;
  12. Describe a range of parametric, contrast and time-sequence imaging procedures used in CT;
  13. Implement appropriate quality assurance measures in CT imaging for various scanning modes;
  14. Understand safety aspects in CT scanning and how x-ray dose is measured in the various modes;
  15. Demonstrate problem-solving and teamwork skills in relation to the utilisation of single slice helical and multi-slice CT in the clinical setting.


Four multiple choice and short answer tests conducted via WebCT, each contributing 10% towards overall unit mark (40%). Four (750 word) clinical action plans and accompanying comparative reports of 250 words each related to the use of the SOLAR case based learning program. (40%). A 1500 word assignment dealing with issues related to CT imaging involving a specific topic of interest to the student (decided between student and lecturer) in a medical imaging department or practice (20%).

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