Volume CT Dose Index and Dose-Length Product Displayed during CT: What Good Are They?

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1148/radiol.10100297

It takes only a few seconds for the radiologist to review the volume CT dose index and dose-length product data on the picture archiving and communications system as the CT examination is being performed, allowing identification of an unexpected deviation from protocol or technique, equipment malfunction, and unexpectedly high patient doses.

The average medical radiation effective dose to the U.S. population in 2006 was estimated at approximately 3.0 mSv, an increase of 600% in a single generation. Computed tomography (CT) alone accounts for approximately half of this medical radiation dose. Ongoing advances suggest that CT will continue to be the most important contributor, by far, to medical doses in the United States. The use of ionizing radiation in medical imaging, including CT, provides valuable diagnostic information that undoubtedly benefits many patients. Exposure to radiation, however, is currently believed to carry a small, but nonzero, risk. Accordingly, the medical imaging community must ensure that the benefits of a radiologic examination in any given patient exceed the corresponding risks. It is also the responsibility of the radiologist to ensure that no more radiation is used than needed for obtaining diagnostic information in any radiologic examination, especially CT.

© RSNA, 2010

Supplemental material: http://radiology.rsna.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1148/radiol.10100297/-/DC1

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Article History

Received February 24, 2010; revision requested April 19; revision received July 12; final version accepted July 21.
Published online: Jan 2011
Published in print: Jan 2011