Organ-specific dose coefficients derived from Monte Carlo simulations for historical (1930s to 1960s) fluoroscopic and radiographic examinations of tuberculosis patients

J Radiol Prot. 2019 Sep;39(3):950-965. doi: 10.1088/1361-6498/ab2f10. Epub 2019 Jul 3.


This work provides dose coefficients necessary to reconstruct doses used in epidemiological studies of tuberculosis patients treated from the 1930s through the 1960s, who were exposed to diagnostic imaging while undergoing treatment. We made use of averaged imaging parameters from measurement data, physician interviews, and available literature of the Canadian Fluoroscopy Cohort Study and, on occasion, from a similar study of tuberculosis patients from Massachusetts, United States, treated between 1925 and 1954. We used computational phantoms of the human anatomy and Monte Carlo radiation transport methods to compute dose coefficients that relate dose in air, at a point 20 cm away from the source, to absorbed dose in 58 organs. We selected five male and five female phantoms, based on the mean height and weight of Canadian tuberculosis patients in that era, for the 1-, 5-, 10-, 15-year old and adult ages. Using high-performance computers at the National Institutes of Health, we simulated 2,400 unique fluoroscopic and radiographic exposures by varying x-ray beam quality, field size, field shuttering, imaged anatomy, phantom orientation, and computational phantom. Compared with previous dose coefficients reported for this population, our dosimetry system uses improved anatomical phantoms constructed from computed tomography imaging datasets. The new set of dose coefficients includes tissues that were not previously assessed, in particular, for tissues outside the x-ray field or for pediatric patients. In addition, we provide dose coefficients for radiography and for fluoroscopic procedures not previously assessed in the dosimetry of this cohort (i.e. pneumoperitoneum and chest aspirations). These new dose coefficients would allow a comprehensive assessment of exposures in the cohort. In addition to providing newly derived dose coefficients, we believe the automation and methods developed to complete these dosimetry calculations are generalizable and can be applied to other epidemiological studies interested in an exposure assessment from medical x-ray imaging. These epidemiological studies provide important data for assessing health risks of radiation exposure to help inform the current system of radiological protection and efforts to optimize the use of radiation in medical studies.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Organs at Risk / radiation effects*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiography, Thoracic / history*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / history*
  • United States / epidemiology