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Buls, Nico; Pagés, Jessica; de Mey, Johan; Osteaux, Michel


Abstract— As CT scanners are more routinely used as a guidance tool for various types of interventional radiological procedures, concern has grown for high patient and staff doses. CT fluoroscopy provides the physician immediate feedback and can be a valuable tool to dynamically assist various types of percutaneous interventions. However, the fixed position of the scanning plane in combination with high exposure factors may lead to high cumulative patient skin doses that can reach deterministic threshold limits. The staff is also exposed to a considerable amount of scatter radiation while standing next to the patient during the procedures. Although some studies have been published dealing with this subject, data of patient skin doses determined by direct in vivo dosimetry remains scarce. The purpose of this study is to quantify and to evaluate both patient and staff doses by direct thermoluminescent dosimetry during various clinical CT fluoroscopy guided procedures. Patient doses were quantified by determining the entrance skin dose with direct thermoluminescent dosimetry and by estimating the effective dose (E). Staff doses were quantified by determining the entrance skin dose at the level of the eyes, thyroid, and both the hands with direct thermoluminescent dosimetry. For a group of 82 consecutive patients, the following median values were determined (data per procedure): patient E (19.7 mSv), patient entrance skin dose (374 mSv), staff entrance skin dose at eye level (0.21 mSv), thyroid (0.24 mSv), at the left hand (0.18 mSv), and at the right hand (0.76 mSv). The maximum recorded patient entrance skin dose stayed well below the deterministic threshold level of 2 Gy. Poor correlation between both patient/staff doses and integrated procedure mAs emphasizes the need for in vivo measurements. CT fluoroscopy doses are markedly higher than classic CT-scan doses and are comparable to doses from other interventional radiological procedures. They consequently require adequate radiation protection management. An important potential for dose reduction exists by limiting the fluoroscopic screening time and by reducing the tube current (mA) to a level sufficient to provide adequate image quality.

*Free University Hospital Brussels (AZ-VUB), Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, Laarbeeklaan 101, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium.

Manuscript received 9 July 2002;

revised manuscript received 17 January 2003, accepted 8 March 2003

For correspondence or reprints contact: N. Buls at the above address, or email at

© 2003 by the Health Physics Society