Radiological protection in paediatric computed tomography.
It is well known that paediatric patients are generally at greater risk for the development of cancer per unit of radiation dose compared with adults, due both to the longer life expectancy for any harmful effects of radiation to manifest, and the fact that developing organs and tissues are more sensitive to the effects of radiation. Multiple computed tomography (CT) examinations may cumulatively involve absorbed doses to organs and tissues that can sometimes approach or exceed the levels known from epidemiological studies to significantly increase the probability of cancer development. Radiation protection strategies include rigorous justification of CT examinations and the use of imaging techniques that are non-ionising, followed by optimisation of radiation dose exposure (according to the 'as low as reasonably achievable' principle). Special consideration should be given to the availability of dose reduction technology when acquiring CT scanners. Dose reduction should be optimised by adjustment of scan parameters (such as mAs, kVp, and pitch) according to patient weight or age, region scanned, and study indication (e.g. images with greater noise should be accepted if they are of sufficient diagnostic quality). Other strategies include restricting multiphase examination protocols, avoiding overlapping of scan regions, and only scanning the area in question. Newer technologies such as tube current modulation, organ-based dose modulation, and iterative reconstruction should be used when appropriate. Attention should also be paid to optimising study quality (e.g. by image post-processing to facilitate radiological diagnoses and interpretation). Finally, improving awareness through education and advocacy, and further research in paediatric radiological protection are important to help reduce patient dose.
Khong, P-L; Frush, D; Ringertz, H
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