Establishment of the diagnostic reference levels and estimation of effective dose from computed tomography head scans at a tertiary hospital in South Africa

Document Type: Original Paper


Department of Medical Physics Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University SouthAfrica


Introduction: Head scans are the most performed computed tomography (CT) examinations worldwide. However, there are concerns over the probability of increased cancer risks among the exposed populations. Diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) were proposed as a tool for identification of CT doses considered not ideal for the clinical objective. The aim of the study was to establish diagnostic reference levels for the CT head procedures and to estimate the effective dose.
Methods: The dose absorbed by the head slice of a Rando Alderson phantom was measured using calibrated Lithium fluoride thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) while exposed to a CT scanner operated on clinical parameters. Measurements were effected at the peripheral and centre of the slice, measurements were repeated three times each with a set of new TLDs. The doses absorbed by the TLDs were read using a Harshaw TLD Model 5500. The measured doses were used to calculate the weighted CT dose Index (CTDIw ), CT dose index volume (CTDIv ) and the dose length product (DLP). Lastly the effective dose was calculated using the formulae, ED = k × DLP where k = 0.0021.
Results: The mean absorbed dose was 30.9 mGy while the established CTDIv and DLP values for the head protocol were 40 mGy and 990 respectively. The ED was 2.1 mSv. These values compared well with some international values.
Conclusion: The established CTDIv, DLP and effective dose for head scan compared well with some international values except in cases where different scan lengths and scanner algorithms were used.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 19 June 2019
  • Receive Date: 17 April 2019
  • Revise Date: 18 June 2019
  • Accept Date: 19 June 2019