Assessment of radiation dose awareness among pediatricians

Pediatr Radiol. 2006 Aug;36(8):823-32. doi: 10.1007/s00247-006-0170-x. Epub 2006 May 13.


Background: There is increasing awareness among pediatric radiologists of the potential risks associated with ionizing radiation in medical imaging. However, it is not known whether there has been a corresponding increase in awareness among pediatricians.

Objective: To establish the level of awareness among pediatricians of the recent publicity on radiation risks in children, knowledge of the relative doses of radiological investigations, current practice regarding parent/patient discussions, and the sources of educational input.

Materials and methods: Multiple-choice survey.

Results: Of 220 respondents, 105 (48%) were aware of the 2001 American Journal of Roentgenology articles on pediatric CT and radiation, though only 6% were correct in their estimate of the quoted lifetime excess cancer risk associated with radiation doses equivalent to pediatric CT. A sustained or transient increase in parent questioning regarding radiation doses had been noticed by 31%. When estimating the effective doses of various pediatric radiological investigations in chest radiograph (CXR) equivalents, 87% of all responses (and 94% of CT estimates) were underestimates. Only 15% of respondents were familiar with the ALARA principle. Only 14% of pediatricians recalled any relevant formal teaching during their specialty training. The survey response rate was 40%.

Conclusion: Awareness of radiation protection issues among pediatricians is generally low, with widespread underestimation of relative doses and risks.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Data Collection
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Pediatrics* / education
  • Radiation Protection
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage*
  • Risk
  • Surveys and Questionnaires