Radiation Dose for Pediatric CT: Comparison of Pediatric versus Adult Imaging Facilities.
Radiology. 2019 Apr;291(1):158-167. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2019181753. Epub 2019 Feb 5.
Strauss KJ1, Somasundaram E1, Sengupta D1, Marin JR1, Brady SL1.
Background The American College of Radiology Dose Index Registry for CT enables evaluation of radiation dose as a function of patient characteristics and examination type. The hypothesis of this study was that academic pediatric CT facilities have optimized CT protocols that may result in a lower and less variable radiation dose in children. Materials and Methods A retrospective study of doses (mean patient age, 12 years; age range, 0-21 years) was performed by using data from the National Radiology Data Registry (year range, 2016-2017) (n = 239 622). Three examination types were evaluated: brain without contrast enhancement, chest without contrast enhancement, and abdomen-pelvis with intravenous contrast enhancement. Three dose indexes-volume CT dose index (CTDIvol), size-specific dose estimate (SSDE), and dose-length product (DLP)-were analyzed by using six different size groups. The unequal variance t test and the F test were used to compare mean dose and variances, respectively, at academic pediatric facilities with those at other facility types for each size category. The Bonferroni-Holm correction factor was applied to account for the multiple comparisons. Results Pediatric radiation dose in academic pediatric facilities was significantly lower, with smaller variance for all brain, 42 of 54 (78%) chest, and 48 of 54 (89%) abdomen-pelvis examinations across all six size groups, three dose descriptors, and when compared with that at the other three facilities. For example, abdomen-pelvis SSDE for the 14.5-18-cm size group was 3.6, 5.4, 5.5, and 8.3 mGy, respectively, for academic pediatric, nonacademic pediatric, academic adult, and nonacademic adult facilities (SSDE mean and variance P < .001). Mean SSDE for the smallest patients in nonacademic adult facilities was 51% (6.1 vs 11.9 mGy) of the facility's adult dose. Conclusion Academic pediatric facilities use lower CT radiation dose with less variation than do nonacademic pediatric or adult facilities for all brain examinations and for the majority of chest and abdomen-pelvis examinations.