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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2010 Jun;194(6):1611-9. doi: 10.2214/AJR.09.3771.

Patient size measured on CT images as a function of age at a tertiary care children's hospital.

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Department of Radiology, Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



The purpose of our study was to measure patient size on CT images as a function of age at a large tertiary care children's hospital to develop current patient size data for modeling optimal x-ray exposure factors in children.


Anteroposterior and transverse dimensions of the head, thorax, abdomen, and pelvis were measured on CT examinations of pediatric patients less than 21 years old performed between June and November 2007. Patients with diseases that could affect measurements were excluded. From 1,009 patients, 336 examinations of each of four body regions were selected; 2,688 measurements were made and separated into 21 groups. Statistical model building and prediction equations were established for each region and 95% prediction intervals were used for analyses.


Rapid growth of the head occurred from birth to approximately 2 years followed by a gradual plateau until 21 years. The thoracic, abdominal, and pelvic regions showed a linear relationship between age and size. Fitted equations showed transverse trunk measurements increased more rapidly than anteroposterior measurements. The anteroposterior trunk size growth rate was relatively region independent; transverse pelvic dimensions grew more rapidly than thoracic or abdominal regions. There was a broad overlap of predicted patient size ranges as a function of age within each region. Excellent interobserver agreement was measured by Pearson's correlation coefficient (r) (all p < 0.0001).


Fitted average patient sizes are age dependent; however, predicted individual patient size does not correlate well with age. Our study suggests that pediatric patient body size should be determined for individual patients before performing diagnostic imaging procedures that entail radiation risks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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