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Med Phys. 2011 Mar;38(3):1611-8.

Patient radiation dose audits for fluoroscopically guided interventional procedures.

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Department of Radiology, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.



Quality management for any use of medical x-ray imaging should include monitoring of radiation dose. Fluoroscopically guided interventional (FGI) procedures are inherently clinically variable and have the potential for inducing deterministic injuries in patients. The use of a conventional diagnostic reference level is not appropriate for FGI procedures. A similar but more detailed quality process for management of radiation dose in FGI procedures is described.


A method that takes into account both the inherent variability of FGI procedures and the risk of deterministic injuries from these procedures is suggested. The substantial radiation dose level (SRDL) is an absolute action level (with regard to patient follow-up) below which skin injury is highly unlikely and above which skin injury is possible. The quality process for FGI procedures collects data from all instances of a given procedure from a number of facilities into an advisory data set (ADS). An individual facility collects a facility data set (FDS) comprised of all instances of the same procedure at that facility. The individual FDS is then compared to the multifacility ADS with regard to the overall shape of the dose distributions and the percent of instances in both the ADS and the FDS that exceed the SRDL.


Samples of an ADS and FDS for percutaneous coronary intervention, using the dose metric of reference air kerma (K(a,r)) (i.e., the cumulative air kerma at the reference point), are used to illustrate the proposed quality process for FGI procedures. Investigation is warranted whenever the FDS is noticeably different from the ADS for the specific FGI procedure and particularly in two circumstances: (1) When the facility's local median K(a,r) exceeds the 75th percentile of the ADS and (2) when the percent of instances where K(a,r) exceeds the facility-selected SRDL is greater for the FDS than for the ADS.


Analysis of the two data sets (ADS and FDS) and of the percent of instances that exceed the SRDL provides a means for the facility to better manage radiation dose (and therefore both deterministic and stochastic radiation risk) to the patient during FGI procedures.

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