Study: Imaging Beyond Anatomical Boundaries Often Occurs in Chest and Abdominal CT Scans

April 1, 2012 | Evaluations & Guidance


A recent study published in European Radiologyconcluded that a substantial number of patients who undergo chest and abdominal CT scans are imaged beyond the prescribed anatomical boundaries. This excess imaging results in a significantly higher radiation dose, both to the whole patient and to the individual organs.

In the report, Zanca et al. calculated the effective dose and organ radiation dose for 167 consecutive patients undergoing routine chest and/or abdominal CT examinations on a 128-slice CT scanner. Of the 167 examinations, 134 (80%) exceeded the necessary coverage area, resulting in added—and unnecessary—dose, with a mean excess imaging length of 3.4 cm. (Note that the study allowed for a 2 cm margin of error by adding 1 cm to both borders to account for patient respiration.) The average excess dose delivered was significant (0.6 mSv for chest studies, 0.5 mSv for abdominal studies, and 1 mSv for chest-abdominal studies). Such doses are typically unnecessary and...

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