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Samara, Eleni Theano*; Aroua, Abbas*; Bochud, François O.*; Ott, Barbara; Theiler, Thomas; Treier, Reto; Trueb, Philipp R.; Vader, John-Paul§; Verdun, Francis R.*

doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e31823513ff

Nationwide surveys on radiation dose to the population from medical radiology are recommended in order to follow the trends in population exposure and ensure radiation protection. The last survey in Switzerland was conducted in 1998, and the annual effective dose from medical radiology was estimated to be 1 mSv y−1 per capita. The purpose of this work was to follow the trends in diagnostic radiology between 1998 and 2008 in Switzerland and determine the contribution of different modalities and types of examinations to the collective effective dose from medical x-rays. For this reason, an online database ( was developed. All healthcare providers who hold a license to run an x-ray unit in the country were invited to participate in the survey. More than 225 examinations, covering eight radiological modalities, were included in the survey. The average effective dose for each examination was reassessed. Data from about 3,500 users were collected (42% response rate). The survey showed that the annual effective dose was 1.2 mSv/capita in 2008. The most frequent examinations are conventional and dental radiographies (88%). The contribution of computed tomography was only 6% in terms of examination frequency but 68% in terms of effective dose. The comparison with other countries showed that the effective dose per capita in Switzerland was in the same range as in other countries with similar healthcare systems, although the annual number of examinations performed in Switzerland was higher.

*Institute of Radiation Physics, Lausanne University Hospital, Rue du Grand-Pré 1, CH-1007, Lausanne, Switzerland; †Radiation Protection Division, Federal Office of Public Health, CH-3003, Bern, Switzerland; §Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, Rte de la Corniche 2, CH-1066, Epalinges, Switzerland.

Funding received from the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

For correspondence contact: Eleni-Theano Samara, Rue due Grand-Pre 1, 1007, Lausanne, Switzerland, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 29 August 2011)

© 2012 by the Health Physics Society