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Proceedings Paper

Definitions and outlook targeting x-ray exposure of patients in diagnostic imaging
Author(s): Dieter F. Regulla
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Paper Abstract

Computer tomography (CT) is vital and currently irreplaceable in diagnostic radiology. But CT operates with ionizing radiation which may cause cancer or non-cancer diseases in humans. The degree of radiation impact depends on the dose administered by an investigation. And this is the core issue: Even CT exams executed lege artis, administer doses to patients which by magnitude are far beyond the level of hitherto known doses of conventional film-screen techniques. Patients undergoing one or multiple CT examinations, digital angiographies or interventions will be exposed to effective doses between roughly several mSv and several 100 mSv depending on type and frequency of the diagnostic investigations. From the radiation protection point of view, there is therefore the worldwide problem of formulating firm rules for the control of these high-dose investigations, as dose limits can not be established for reasons of the medical benefit. This makes the difference compared with radiation protection for occupationally exposed persons. What remains is "software", namely "justification" and "optimization". Justification requires balancing the interests between the health benefit and the potential harm of an exam which has to be responsibly executed by the physician himself; therefore the radiologists' associations are in the duty to prepare practicable rules for justification. Optimization again needs a cooperative solution, and that is the establishment of reference doses for diagnostic examinations, to be checked by the technical service of the producers' companies. Experts and authorities have been aware of the high-dose dilemma in diagnostic imaging since long. It is time for the reflection of active solutions and their implementation into practice.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 March 2011
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7961, Medical Imaging 2011: Physics of Medical Imaging, 79612D (16 March 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.882729
Show Author Affiliations
Dieter F. Regulla, Helmholtz Zentrum München GmbH (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7961:
Medical Imaging 2011: Physics of Medical Imaging
Norbert J. Pelc; Ehsan Samei; Robert M. Nishikawa, Editor(s)

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