Determination of Examination-Specific Diagnostic Reference Level in Computed Tomography by A New Quality Control-Based Dose Survey Method

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Abstract

A new “quality-control-based (QC-based) dose survey method” has been developed for determination of diagnostic reference levels (DRL) in Computed Tomography (CT) examinations. The “QC-based dose survey method” is based on the use of retrospective data in the QC documents and reports, which are typically available from the National Regulatory Authority database. The method was applied to 70 CT scanners in Tehran, Iran, by using the available QC reports from the database. The commonly used “data collection method” was also applied by filling each questionnaire on-site to validate the new method. Using the new QC-based and data collection methods, the DRLs of four common CT examinations: head, sinus, chest, and abdomen/pelvis were determined and compared. The DRLs determined by the “QC-based method” for head, sinus, chest, and abdomen/pelvis are 59, 29, 10, and 13 mGy, respectively, for the volume computed tomography dose index (CTDIVol) and 834, 235, 233, and 522 mGy-cm for the dose length product (DLP), respectively. The difference between the DRLs obtained by the two methods is on the average 6.7 ± 5.7%, which is within the acceptance tolerance level of the IAEA for QC dosimetry tests. The “QC-based dose survey method” is believed to be an effective alternative method to the other commonly used “data collection” and “direct dose measurement method” for determination of CT examination DRLs. This new method has unique characteristics such as simplicity, time and cost effectiveness, highly reduced clinical interruptions and collaborations, and potential for large-scale surveys with capability for more frequent review of national DRL values.

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