Publications & Research

Use of a Dedicated Pediatric CT Imaging Service Associated With Decreased Patient Radiation Dose

The growing use of CT as a diagnostic imaging tool has led to increased concern over radiation dose, particularly in pediatric patients. The ALARA concept has been popularized in dose reduction. ALARA supports the use of low-dose, pediatric-specific protocols. Strict adherence to low-dose protocols can be challenging, particularly in a high-volume radiology department that scans both pediatric and adult patients. The aim of this study was to determine whether the relocation of pediatric radiologic services from a combined high-volume pediatric and adult hospital to a children’s hospital improves compliance with adjusted lower CT exposure parameters and thus the estimated effective dose of radiation delivered to pediatric patients. A retrospective review of abdominal and pelvic CT console dose and exposure parameter data on 495 patients from a combined pediatric and adult radiology department and subsequently 244 patients from a dedicated pediatric radiology department was performed. The console dose-length product was converted to estimated effective dose. Patients were divided into 1 of 8 weight categories for analysis. A statistically significant decrease in the estimated effective dose for abdominal and pelvic CT studies was observed in all but one of the weight categories at the pediatric radiology department compared with the pediatric and adult radiology department. Imaging pediatric patients in a dedicated pediatric imaging department with dedicated pediatric CT technologists may result in greater compliance with pediatric protocols and significantly reduced patient dose. Conversely, greater scrutiny of compliance with pediatric dose-adjusted CT protocols may be necessary for departments that scan both children and adults.

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