Variability in Radiation Dose From Repeat Identical CT Examinations: Longitudinal Analysis of 2851 Patients Undergoing 12,635 Thoracoabdominal CT Scans in an Academic Health System.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to conduct longitudinal analyses of radiation dose data from adult patients undergoing clinically indicated, repeat identical thoracoabdominal CT examinations. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Radiation dose data were electronically collected from 2851 subjects undergoing 12,635 repeat identical CT scans (mean number of scans per patient, 4.8; range, 2-33) in one health system. Included CT protocols were chest-abdomen-pelvis with contrast administration (n = 4621 CT studies of 1064 patients), abdomen-pelvis with contrast administration (n = 876 CT studies of 261 patients), renal stone (n = 1053 CT studies of 380 patients), and chest (n = 6085 CT studies of 1146 patients) without contrast administration. A radiation-tracking software infrastructure was adopted to extract data from DICOM headers in PACS. Size-specific dose estimate (SSDE) was calculated. RESULTS: A trend was observed toward global reduction in SSDE values with all protocols investigated (chest-abdomen-pelvis slope, -1.78; abdomen-pelvis slope, -0.82; renal stone slope, -0.83; chest slope, -0.47; p < 0.001 for all comparisons). The intraindividual analyses of radiation dose distribution showed widespread variability in SSDE values across the four protocols investigated (chest-abdomen-pelvis mean coefficient of variance, 14.02 mGy; abdomen-pelvis mean coefficient of variance, 10.26 mGy; renal stone mean coefficient of variance, 34.18 mGy; chest mean coefficient of variance, 6.74 mGy). CONCLUSION: Although there is a trend toward global reduction in radiation doses, this study showed widespread variability in the radiation dose that each patient undergoing identical repeat thoracoabdominal CT protocols absorbs. These data may provide a foundation for the future development of best-practice guidelines for patient-specific radiation dose monitoring.
Mileto, A; Nelson, RC; Larson, DG; Samei, E; Wilson, JM; Christianson, O; Marin, D; Boll, DT
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