Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Am Coll Radiol. 2014 Feb;11(2):169-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2013.08.028.

Cumulative radiation exposure estimates of hospitalized patients from radiological imaging.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. Electronic address:
Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.
Department of Biostatistics, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, Georgia.



To examine the use of inpatient diagnostic imaging and image-guided procedures to estimate cumulative radiation exposure, radiation exposure based on imaging modality, and compare estimated doses based on patient demographics including age, gender, and diagnoses.


Two hundred consecutive hospitalized adult patients who underwent diagnostic imaging studies at 2 large, affiliated hospitals were identified, and every study in each patient's electronic record that took place during a single hospitalization was reviewed. Dose estimates were calculated for each CT, fluoroscopy, nuclear medicine, plain film, and interventional radiology study or procedure based on reported dose length product, published reference values, and conversion factors. Medical records were reviewed to determine patient gender, age, diagnoses, length of stay, admitting service, and time in an intensive care unit (ICU).


Two hundred inpatients (46.5% male; mean age, 60.4 years) underwent 2,751 imaging studies (79.3% radiographs, 9.7% CT, 6.1% ultrasound, 2.5% interventional radiology, 2.2% MRI, 0.4% nuclear medicine). The mean dose estimate per patient was 14.8 milliSieverts (mSv) and the range was 0 mSv to 130.5 mSv. Mean cumulative dose estimates were significantly higher for patients whose hospitalizations included time in an ICU (17.9 mSv versus 11.3 mSv [P = .01]). CT examinations accounted for 82.1% of the total radiation dose estimate. Eleven patients (5.5%) received radiation dose estimates ≥ 50 mSv, including 2 ≥ 100 mSv.


Of imaged inpatients, 62% underwent at least 1 CT and the majority (82.1%) of inpatient radiation exposure was attributable to CT examinations. Mean dose estimate was 14.8 mSv per patient; 5.5% of patients experienced estimated doses ≥ 50 mSv.


CT; Imaging utilization; cumulative; hospitalization; inpatients; radiation exposure

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons


    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center