DOSE EVALUATION FOR DIGITAL X-RAY IMAGING OF PREMATURE NEONATES
X-ray radiography is a commonly used diagnostic method for premature neonates. However, because of higher radiosensitivity and young age, premature neonates are more sensitive to the detrimental effects of ionising radiation. Therefore, it is important to monitor and optimise radiation doses at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The number of x-ray examinations, dose-area product (DAP) and effective doses are evaluated for three Dutch NICUs using digital flat panel detectors. Thorax, thorax-abdomen and abdomen protocols are included in this study. Median number of examinations is equal to 1 for all three hospitals. Median DAP ranges between 0.05 and 1.02 μGy m2 for different examination types and different weight categories. These examinations result in mean effective doses between 4 ± 4 and 30 ± 10 μSv per examination. Substantial differences in protocols and doses can be observed between hospitals. This emphasises the need for up-to-date reference levels formulated specifically for premature neonates.