Radiologic and nuclear medicine studies in the United States and worldwide: frequency, radiation dose, and comparison with other radiation sources--1950-2007

Radiology. 2009 Nov;253(2):520-31. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2532082010. Epub 2009 Sep 29.


The U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements and United Nations Scientific Committee on Effects of Atomic Radiation each conducted respective assessments of all radiation sources in the United States and worldwide. The goal of this article is to summarize and combine the results of these two publicly available surveys and to compare the results with historical information. In the United States in 2006, about 377 million diagnostic and interventional radiologic examinations and 18 million nuclear medicine examinations were performed. The United States accounts for about 12% of radiologic procedures and about one-half of nuclear medicine procedures performed worldwide. In the United States, the frequency of diagnostic radiologic examinations has increased almost 10-fold (1950-2006). The U.S. per-capita annual effective dose from medical procedures has increased about sixfold (0.5 mSv [1980] to 3.0 mSv [2006]). Worldwide estimates for 2000-2007 indicate that 3.6 billion medical procedures with ionizing radiation (3.1 billion diagnostic radiologic, 0.5 billion dental, and 37 million nuclear medicine examinations) are performed annually. Worldwide, the average annual per-capita effective dose from medicine (about 0.6 mSv of the total 3.0 mSv received from all sources) has approximately doubled in the past 10-15 years.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / trends
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Nuclear Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiology / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States