Cumulative radiation dose from medical imaging in kidney transplant patients

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2012 Sep;27(9):3645-51. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfs145. Epub 2012 May 22.


Background: Although many patients undergoing kidney transplant are exposed to multiple examinations that increase cumulative effective doses (CEDs) of ionizing radiation, no data are available characterizing their total longitudinal radiation burden and relating radiation burden with risk factors for more exposure.

Methods: We did a retrospective cohort study of 92 patients (mean age 52 years; range: 20-75 years) who underwent kidney transplant at University Hospital, Novara, Italy, that evaluated all following medical imaging procedures involving ionizing radiation undergone beginning June 2007, and all subsequent procedures through August 2011, at the centre.

Results: The mean and median annual CED were 17.2 and 4.9 millisieverts (mSv) per patient-year. The mean and median total CED per patient over the study period were 46.1 and 17.3 mSv, respectively. Twenty-eight and 12% of patients had total CED >50 and 100 mSv, values which are associated with a good or strong evidence of an increased cancer mortality risk, respectively. Computed tomography scanning accounted for 73% of the total CED. The annual CED was significantly higher in incident patients and in patients with ischaemic heart disease and cancer.

Conclusion: In this institution, multiple testing of kidney transplant patients was common in many patients associated with high cumulative estimated doses of ionizing radiation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy
  • Kidney Transplantation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiation, Ionizing*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult