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Med Phys. 2008 Feb;35(2):556-68.

Calculation of organ doses in x-ray examinations of premature babies.

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University Hospitals of Leuven, Herestraat 49, Leuven 3000, Belgium.


Lung disease represents one of the most life-threatening conditions in prematurely born children. In the evaluation of the neonatal chest, the primary and most important diagnostic study is the chest radiograph. Since prematurely born children are very sensitive to radiation, those radiographs may lead to a significant radiation detriment. Knowledge of the radiation dose is therefore necessary to justify the exposures. To calculate doses in the entire body and in specific organs, computational models of the human anatomy are needed. Using medical imaging techniques, voxel phantoms have been developed to achieve a representation as close as possible to the anatomical properties. In this study two voxel phantoms, representing prematurely born babies, were created from computed tomography- and magnetic resonance images: Phantom 1 (1910 g) and Phantom 2 (590 g). The two voxel phantoms were used in Monte Carlo calculations (MCNPX) to assess organ doses. The results were compared with the commercially available software package PCXMC in which the available mathematical phantoms can be downsized toward the prematurely born baby. The simple phantom-scaling method used in PCXMC seems to be sufficient to calculate doses for organs within the radiation field. However, one should be careful in specifying the irradiation geometry. Doses in organs that are wholly or partially outside the primary radiation field depend critically on the irradiation conditions and the phantom model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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