The concept of diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) has been introduced to indicate unusually high or low patient radiation doses from medical imaging examinations and procedures.
The newly published Euratom Basic Safety Standards state that ‘Diagnostic reference levels mean dose levels in medical radiodiagnostic or interventional radiology practices, or, in the case of radio-pharmaceuticals, levels of activity for typical examinations for groups of standard-sized patients or standard phantoms for broadly defined types of equipment.’
There is a need to establish DRLs for radiological examinations and procedures where DRLs are not available, consolidate available information and provide guidance on what actions are needed in using DRLs to further enhance radiation protection of patients.
The core aim of ‘Is your Imaging EuroSafe?’ is to build a European repository based on dose exposures for specific clinical indications that would be most helpful for self-benchmarking and for future establishment of DRLs. In addition, this repository would provide insights into the influence of the age of the equipment on dose exposure, which may be helpful at the local level to stimulate a policy of upgrading or replacing equipment. Finally, repeating the survey in the same centres over a period of three years will provide important information on the evolution of DRLs. Our aim is to collect information relating to specific adult CT clinical indications from as many CT centres as possible, using samples of five patients for each indication from each centre. An individual survey for each indication is available.
More specifically, the online surveys have been developed in order to collect data on:
- Standard practice (use of agreed protocols)
- Scanner specifications (year of installation, brand, number of detector rows)
- Adult patient data (dose modulation, iterative reconstruction, CTDI vol, DLP, CTDI phantom size)