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Radiation exposure to infants undergoing voiding cystourethrography: The importance of the digital imaging technology

      Highlights

      • Effective dose to infants undergoing VCUG was found to be lower than 50 μSv.
      • Radiation risks due to contemporary VCUG examinations on infants are minor.
      • The transition from analogue-to-digital equipment decreased VCUG exposure.

      Abstract

      Purpose

      To determine the radiation burden to infants undergoing voiding cystourethrography (VCUG) in a single institution and investigate the effect of shifting from analogue to digital imaging that allowed the use of a radiography-free examination protocol.

      Methods

      Anthropometric and exposure data were prospectively collected for 35 consecutive infants undergoing VCUG on a digital system with a standardized examination protocol not including radiographs. Thermoluminescent dosimeters were used to determine entrance-skin dose. Monte Carlo simulations and patient-specific anthropomorphic phantoms were employed to determine organ/tissue doses and effective dose (ED). The associated theoretical risk of radiation-induced cancer was determined and compared to the nominal risk of cancer induction. The radiation burden from VCUG on a modern digital system with a contemporary examination protocol was compared to corresponding data reported previously for an analogue system in the same institution.

      Results

      The median ED from VCUG was found 47 μSv. The associated total life attributable risk of radiation-induced cancer was found 10x10-6 and 13x10-6 for boys and girls, respectively. VCUG was found to increase the nominal risk of cancer by a factor of 1.000025 in boys and 1.000034 in girls. Shifting from analogue to digital imaging system resulted in 89% reduction of the radiation burden from VCUG.

      Conclusion

      The theoretical radiation risks for infants undergoing VCUG using a modern digital imaging system and a radiography-free protocol were found to be minor. The transition from analogue to digital equipment resulted in considerable reduction of the radiation burden from VCUG.

      Keywords

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