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J Am Coll Radiol. 2011 Nov;8(11):756-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2011.05.011.

Ionizing radiation in abdominal CT: unindicated multiphase scans are an important source of medically unnecessary exposure.

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1
Department of Radiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53792, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

CT radiation exposure has come under increasing scrutiny because of dramatically increased utilization. Multiphase CT studies (repeated scanning before and after contrast injection) are a potentially important, overlooked source of medically unnecessary radiation because of the dose-multiplier effect of extra phases. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of unindicated multiphase scanning and resultant excess radiation exposure in a sample referral population.

METHODS:

Abdominal and pelvic CT examinations (n = 500) performed at outside institutions submitted for tertiary interpretation were retrospectively reviewed for (1) the appropriateness of each phase on the basis of clinical indication and ACR Appropriateness Criteria(®) and (2) per phase and total radiation effective dose.

RESULTS:

A total of 978 phases were performed in 500 patients; 52.8% (264 of 500) received phases that were not supported by ACR criteria. Overall, 35.8% of phases (350 of 978) were unindicated, most commonly being delayed imaging (272 of 350). The mean overall total radiation effective dose per patient was 25.8 mSv (95% confidence interval, 24.2-27.5 mSv). The mean effective dose for unindicated phases was 13.1 mSv (95% confidence interval, 12.3-14.0 mSv), resulting in a mean excess effective dose of 16.8 mSv (95% confidence interval, 15.5-18.3 mSv) per patient. Unindicated radiation constituted 33.3% of the total radiation effective dose in this population. Radiation effective doses exceeding 50 mSv were found in 21.2% of patients (106 of 500).

CONCLUSIONS:

The results of this study suggest that a large proportion of patients undergoing abdominal and pelvic CT scanning receive unindicated additional phases that add substantial excess radiation dose with no associated clinical benefit.

PMID:
22051457
PMCID:
PMC4131253
DOI:
10.1016/j.jacr.2011.05.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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