Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate how pediatric body MDCT scanning parameters (i.e., the principal determinants of radiation dose) have changed since a prior survey conducted in 2001.
Materials and methods: The survey used in this study consisted of 27 questions addressing practice setting; equipment; and scanning parameters including kilovoltage, tube current, and pitch. Members of the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR) received an email with a link to the Web-based survey. Respondents were asked to complete only one survey to represent their practice and indicate the number of pediatric radiologists their response represented.
Results: Sixty-one responses representing 337 pediatric radiologists were received. Eighty-four percent of respondents practice in a university or children's hospital. No respondents reported using a peak kilovoltage setting of higher than 120 kVp for routine chest or abdomen scans. Those using 110 kVp or less increased from 4% to 48% for chest CT and from 1% to 32% for abdominal CT (p < 0.001). Weight-based adjustments in tube current are used by 98% of respondents. Tube current tends to increase with a patient's age or weight, with most pediatric body imaging examinations being performed with a tube current of less than 150 mA. The mean tube current used across all age groups decreased between 31 and 61 mA (p < 0.001), with the largest percentage decreases in patients in the 0-4 years age group.
Conclusion: Since 2001, the peak kilovoltage and tube current settings, two principal parameters determining radiation dose, used by SPR members have decreased significantly for pediatric body MDCT. It is a reasonable assumption that these changes are due to efforts to increase awareness about the risks of radiation.