What are the typical levels of radiation exposure caused by various imaging tests?
The actual radiation dose to a patient depends on many factors, including age, gender, body habitus, the type of imaging study, and the parts of the body being radiated. Skin dose is typically higher than organ dose, because the subcutaneous tissues absorb some radiation. Recall that effective dose is not a representation of actual radiation dose to the patient, but rather a metric intended to express the risk of adverse events as a result of the exposure. Mettler et al. provided a detailed catalog of effective doses for diagnostic, interventional, and nuclear medicine procedures in 2008, some of which are summarized in the below table . As a result of the adoption of a variety of dose reduction measures, these reported values are higher than those currently used in clinical practice.
Effective Doses for Common Diagnostic Radiology Examinations
|EXAMINATION/PROCEDURE||AVERAGE EFFECTIVE DOSE (MSV)||RANGE OF EFFECTIVE DOSES IN THE LITERATURE (MSV)|
|Posteroanterior and lateral chest||0.1||0.05-0.24|
|Upper gastrointestinal series||6||1.5-12.0|
|Head and/or neck angiography||5||0.8-19.6|
|Coronary angiography (diagnostic)||7||2.0-15.8|
|Abdominal angiography or aortography||12||4.0-48.0|
|Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) placement||70||20-180|