Establishment of local diagnostic reference levels for computed tomography with cloud-based automated dose-tracking software in Türkiye

Diagn Interv Radiol. 2024 May 13;30(3):205-211. doi: 10.4274/dir.2023.232265. Epub 2023 Aug 31.


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to establish local diagnostic reference levels (LDRLs) for computed tomography (CT) procedures using cloud-based automated dose-tracking software.

Methods: The study includes the dose data obtained from a total of 104,272 examinations performed on adult patients (>18 years) using 8 CT scanners over 12 months. The protocols included in our study were as follows: head CT without contrast, cervical spine CT without contrast, neck CT with contrast, chest CT without contrast, abdomen-pelvis CT without contrast, lumbar spine CT without contrast, high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) of the chest, and coronary CT angiography (CTA). Dose data were collected using cloud-based automatic dose-tracking software. The 75th percentiles of the distributions of the median volume CT dose index (CTDIvol) and dose length product (DLP) values were used to determine the LDRLs for each protocol. The LDRLs were compared with national DRLs (NDRLs) and DRLs set in other countries. Inter-CT scanner variability, which is a measure of how well clinical practices are standardized, was determined for each protocol. Median values for each protocol were compared with the LDRLs for dose optimization in each CT scanner.

Results: The LDRLs (for DLP and CTDIvol, respectively) were 839 and 41.2 mGy for head CT without contrast, 530.6 and 19.8 mGy for cervical spine CT without contrast, 431.9 and 15.5 mGy for neck CT with contrast, 364.8 and 9.3 mGy for chest CT without contrast, 588.9 mGy. cm and 11.2 mGy for abdomen-pelvis CT without contrast, 713 and 24.3 mGy for lumbar spine CT without contrast, 326 and 9.5 mGy for HRCT, and 642.3 and 33.4 mGy for coronary CTA. The LDRLs were comparable to or lower than NDRLs and DRLs set in other countries for most protocols. The comparisons revealed the need for immediate initiation of an optimization process for CT protocols with higher dose distributions. Furthermore, protocols with high inter-CT scanner variability revealed the need for standardization.

Conclusion: There is a need to update the NDRLs for CT protocols in Turkey. Until new NDRLs are established, local institutions in Turkey can initiate the optimization process by comparing their dose distributions to the LDRLs established in our study. Automated dose-tracking software can play an important role in establishing DRLs by facilitating the collection and analysis of large datasets.

Keywords: Computed tomography; diagnostic reference level; dose-tracking software; ionizing radiation; radiation dose.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cloud Computing
  • Diagnostic Reference Levels
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Software*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed* / methods