Exposure of the Swiss population to computed tomography

BMC Med Imaging. 2013 Jul 30:13:22. doi: 10.1186/1471-2342-13-22.


Background: The frequency of CT procedures has registered a significant increase over the last decade, which led at the international level to an increasing concern on the radiological risk associated with the use of CT especially in paediatrics. This work aimed at investigating the use of computed tomography in Switzerland, following the evolution of CT frequency and dose data over a decade and comparing it to data reported in other countries.

Methods: The frequency and dose data related to CT are obtained by means of a nationwide survey. National frequencies were established by projecting the collected data, using the ratio of the number of CT units belonging to the respondents to the total number of CT units in the country. The effective doses per examination were collected during an auditing campaign.

Results: In 2008 about 0.8 Million CT procedures (~100 CT examinations/1000 population) were performed in the country, leading to a collective effective dose of more than 6000 man.Sv (0.8 mSv/caput). In a decade the frequency of CT examinations averaged over the population and the associated average effective dose per caput increased by a factor of 2.2 and 2.9 respectively.

Conclusions: Although the contribution of CT to the total medical X-rays is 6% in terms of the frequency, it represents 68% in terms of the collective effective dose. These results are comparable to those reported in a number of countries in Europe and America with similar health level.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Burden*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiometry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / statistics & numerical data*