Medical Professional Publications

Radiology Provides Lowest Dose Imaging

Radiation dose administration during diagnostic imaging studies continues to be a focus of patient, family, and health care provider inquiries.  It is also a popular topic in the media as national news coverage has focused public awareness on the potential harm of excessive radiation exposure during diagnostic imaging studies and therapeutic radiation treatments. 

Recently, Frederick R. Long, MD, section chief, Body MRI and CT, Department of Radiology, and Nicholas A. Zumberge, MD, Pediatric Radiologist, Department of Radiology, provided practical decision-making algorithms, and shared how the Department of Radiology provides the lowest radiation dose for diagnostic imaging studies.

Radiation doses during diagnostic imaging studies are controlled similar to the way light intensity is controlled in a room with a dimmer light switch. As with light energy, we cannot see without enough light, and too much light is a problem.

The most common radiation dose questions received by Nationwide Children’s Department of Radiology refer to CT scan and small office facial and sinus cone beam CT units. The effective radiation dose unit for this discussion is the milliSievert (mSv).  When compared to a typical head CT scan on a 12-year-old child provided at an outside adult facility (dose of 1.93 mSv), the same head CT performed at Nationwide Children’s Hospital resulted in an effective dose of 0.51 mSv. 

Dr. Long and the Body Imaging Section have dramatically lowered doses for chest CT scans. Compared to outside facilities who dose 9.13 mSv for a CT pulmonary angiogram, Nationwide Children’s performs the study with only 1.5 mSv exposure.

Small maxillofacial and sinus office cone beam CT studies provide a “low dose” exposure (as published by the manufacturer) of 0.04 mSv. Low dose sinus CT studies performed at Nationwide Children’s deliver an average effective dose of 0.024 mSv.

Chest CT imaging for cystic fibrosis lung evaluation is routinely performed at Nationwide Children’s with doses that are a quarter of the dose of published doses in other centers (1.6 mSv at Nationwide Children’s compared to 6.4 mSv in literature citations).

At Nationwide Children’s, state-of-the-art equipment provides high-quality and rapid examinations at the lowest possible radiation doses for children of any size, age, weight and medical condition. Our team of experts specializes in getting the images needed as quickly and as easily as possible.

For more information on the topic of radiation exposure and diagnostic imaging in pediatrics, click here!

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