Variation in computed tomography radiation dose in community hospitals



      Concerns abound regarding the radiation dose administered to children during trauma evaluations. It is important to minimize the radiation dose administered when a computed tomographic (CT) scan is performed. This study was carried out to determine the radiation dose delivered during trauma abdominal/pelvic CT scans performed in community hospitals.


      Data on consecutive children transferred after abdominal/pelvic CT scan for trauma were reviewed. Dose information was retrieved directly from reports provided, or the hospital was contacted directly, and an age-standardized dose ratio was generated.


      One hundred eighty-six patients were identified, and 36 patients were excluded, leaving 150 patients from 40 different hospitals. Half received radiation doses that were less than the national 75th percentile norm, and half received radiation doses that were greater, overall ranging from 0.17 to 5.07 times.


      Radiation exposure is a concern among those who evaluate injured children. Although not performing a CT scan may be the best way to reduce the dose, when a CT scan is deemed necessary, the scanner must be adjusted to the lowest possible settings necessary to obtain the information desired. This study identified a thirty-times range of radiation dosage for CT scans performed across 40 different hospitals.

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