BACKGROUND: Radiation exposure from diagnostic imaging is a significant concern, particularly in the care of pediatric patients. Computed tomography (CT) scanning is a significant source of radiation.
OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate that diagnostic quality CT images can be obtained while minimizing the effective radiation dose to the patient.
METHODS: In this retrospective cross-sectional study, noncontrast head CT scan data were reviewed, and indications for scans and estimated radiation dose delivered were recorded. The estimated effective radiation dose (EERD) for each CT protocol was reviewed.
RESULTS: We identified 251 head CT scans in a single month. Of these, 96 scans were using a low-dose shunt protocol with a mean EERD of 0.82 mSv. The remaining 155 scans were performed using the standard protocol, and the mean EERD was 1.65 mSv. Overall, the EERD was minimized while maintaining diagnostic scan quality.
CONCLUSION: Although replacing a CT with magnetic resonance imaging is ideal to completely avoid ionizing radiation, this is not always practical or preferred. Therefore, it is important to have CT protocols in place that minimize radiation dose without sacrificing diagnostic quality. The protocols in place at our institution could be replicated at other academic and community hospitals and imaging centers.
From: Strategies for Computed Tomography Radiation Dose Reduction in Pediatric Neuroimaging by Albert et al.
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