Pediatric Radiation Doses

Given that doses of radiation used for Computed Tomography (CT) are far higher than conventional radiographs (x-rays), it is important for hospitals to review the dosage exposure for their patients, especially pediatric patients given their smaller size and lower body weights. 

While ample evidence shows that cancer risk is proportional to radiation dose, there are no direct data that suggest that lowering doses lowers cancer risk. However, mathematical modeling estimates that by reducing the top quartile of CT doses in children down to the average dose, the number of cancer cases would be reduced by approximately 43 percent, the equivalent to preventing 4,350 cancer cases per year in the U.S.

The Pediatric CT Radiation Dose measure has been endorsed by the National Quality Forum. The goal of the measure is to provide a framework where facilities can easily assess their doses, compare them to benchmarks, and take corrective action to lower their doses if they exceed threshold values. 

The Leapfrog Hospital Survey asks hospitals to report on two common pediatric radiation doses:

  • Radiation Dose for Head Scans
  • Radiation Dose for Abdomen and Pelvis Scans
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