Patient dose in neonatal units

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Lung disease represents one of the most life-threatening conditions in prematurely born children. In the evaluation of the neonatal chest, the primary and most important diagnostic study is therefore the chest radiograph. Since prematurely born children are very sensitive to radiation, those radiographs may lead to a significant radiation detriment. Hence, knowledge of the patient dose is necessary to justify the exposures. A study to assess the patient doses was started at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the University Hospital in Leuven. Between September 2004 and September 2005, prematurely born babies underwent on average 10 X-ray examinations in the NICU. In this sample, the maximum was 78 X-ray examinations. For chest radiographs, the median entrance skin dose was 34 microGy and the median dose area product was 7.1 By means of conversion coefficients, the measured values were converted to organ doses. Organ doses were calculated for three different weight classes: extremely low birth weight infants (2500 g). The doses to the lungs for a single chest radiograph for infants with extremely low birth weights, low birth weights and normal birth weights were 24, 25 and 32 microGy, respectively.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-147
JournalRadiation protection dosimetry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2008
EventEURADOS Annual Meeting 2008 - Paris, France
Duration: 21 Jan 200825 Jan 2008


  • Patient dose - neonatal unit

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