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Purpose To develop size-specific institutional diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) for computed tomography (CT) protocols used in neck CT imaging (cervical spine CT, cervical CT angiography (CTA) and cervical staging CT) and to compare institutional to national DRLs. Materials and Methods Cervical CT examinations (spine, n=609; CTA, n=505 and staging CT, n=184) performed between 01/2016 and 06/2017 were included in this retrospective study. For each region and examination, CTDIvol and DLP were determined and binned into size bins according to patient water-equivalent diameter (dw). Linear regression analysis was performed to calculate size-specific institutional DRLs for CTDIvol and DLP, applying the 75th percentile as upper limit for institutional DRLs. Mean institutional CTDIvol and DLP were compared to national DRLs (CTDIvol 20 mGy for cervical spine CT (DLP 300 mGycm) and cervical CTA (DLP 600 mGycm), and CTDIvol 15 mGy for cervical staging CT (DLP 330 mGycm)). Results Mean CTDIvol and DLP (± standard deviation) were 15.2±4.1 mGy and 181.5±88.3 mGycm for cervical spine CT; 8.1±4.3 mGy and 280.2±164.3 mGycm for cervical CTA; 8.6±1.9 mGy and 162.8±85.0 mGycm for cervical staging CT. For all CT protocols, there was a linear increase of CTDIvol and DLP with increasing dw. For the CTDIvol, size-specific institutional DRLs increased with dw from 14 to 29 mGy for cervical spine CT, from 5 to 17 mGy for cervical CTA and from 8 to 13 mGy for cervical staging CT. For the DLP, size-specific institutional DRLs increased with dw from 130 to 510 mGycm for cervical spine CT, from 140 to 640 mGycm for cervical CTA and from 140 to 320 mGycm for cervical staging CT. Institutional DRLs were lower than national DRLs by 81% and 67% for cervical spine CT (dw=17.8 cm), 43% and 51% for cervical CTA (dw=19.5 cm) and 59% and 53% for cervical staging CT (dw=18.8 cm) for CTDIvol and DLP, respectively. Conclusion Size-specific institutional DRLs were generated for neck CT examinations. Mean institutional CTDIvol and DLP values were well below national DRLs.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of radiological protection : official journal of the Society for Radiological Protection
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