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Pediatr Radiol. 2007 Dec;37(12):1209-15. Epub 2007 Oct 10.

Radiation doses to children with shunt-treated hydrocephalus.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Stord Hospital, Helse Fonna, Stord, Norway.



Children with shunt-treated hydrocephalus are still followed routinely with frequent head CT scans.


To estimate the effective dose, brain and lens doses from these examinations during childhood, and to assess dose variation per examination.


All children born between 1983 and 1995 and treated for hydrocephalus between 1983 and 2002 were included. We retrospectively registered the number of examinations and the applied scan parameters. The effective dose was calculated using mean conversion factors from the CT dose index measured free in air, while doses to the lens and brain were estimated using tabulated CT dose index values measured in a head phantom.


A total of 687 CT examinations were performed in 67 children. The mean effective dose, lens dose and brain dose to children over 6 months of age were 1.2 mSv, 52 mGy and 33 mGy, respectively, and the corresponding doses to younger children were 3.2 mSv, 60 mGy and 48 mGy. The effective dose per CT examination varied by a factor of 64.


None of the children was exposed to doses known to cause deterministic effects. However, since the threshold for radiation-induced damage is not known with certainty, alternative modalities such as US and MRI should be used whenever possible.

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