Doses to patients from routine diagnostic X-ray examinations in England
Shrimpton PC., Wall BF., Jones DG., Fisher ES., Hillier MC., Kendall GM., Harrison RM.
A collaborative survey between the National Radiological Protection Board and the Hospital Physicists' Association has been conducted to ascertain current levels of exposure for patients undergoing 10 routine types of X-ray examination in England. The main part of this study consisted of measurements on nearly 3200 patients attending 20 randomly selected English hospitals. The energy imparted to each patient was determined from a measurement of the total exposure-area product for the examination. In addition, thermoluminescent dosemeters were attached to the patient's skin to enable the derivation of doses to the major radiosensitive organs, either directly or using appropriate conversion factors calculated for a mathematical phantom by a Monte Carlo technique. Histograms are presented showing the wide distributions often observed in the doses for each type of examination. Mean values of exposure-area product, energy imparted to the patient, entrance skin dose per film and organ dose are reported, together with coefficients of variation. Comparison of the results with those from similar surveys in the UK and abroad is complicated by inconsistencies in the reporting of such data, but substantial differences are sometimes apparent, particularly for the estimates of organ doses. The present measurements will provide a useful baseline for future measurements and will be used to evaluate the collective dose to the population from medical exposures and the radiation risks from the various radiological procedures.