Sci-Thur PM – Colourful Interactions: Highlights 07: Canadian Computed Tomography Survey: National Diagnostic Reference Levels




The Canadian Computed (CT) Tomography Survey sought to collect CT technology and dose index data (CTDI and DLP) at the national level in order to establish national diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) for seven common CT examinations of standard-sized adults and pediatric patients.


A single survey booklet (consisting of four sections) was mailed to and completed for each participating CT scanner. Survey sections collected data on (i) General facility and scanner information, (ii) routine protocols (as available), (iii) individual patient data (as applied) and (iv) manual CTDI measurements.


Dose index (CTDIvol and DLP) and associated patient data from 24 280 individual patient exam sequences was analyzed for seven common CT examinations performed in Canada: Adult Head, Chest, Abdomen/Pelvis, and Chest/Abdomen/Pelvis, and Pediatric Head, Chest, and Abdomen. Pediatric examination data was sub-divided into three age ranges: 0–3, 3–7 and 7–13 years.

DRLs (75th percentile of dose index distributions) were found for all thirteen groups. Further analysis also permitted segmentation of examination data into 8 sub-groups, whose dose index data was displayed along with group histograms – showing relative contribution of axial vs. helical, contrast use (C+ vs. C-), and application of fixed current vs. dose reduction (DR) – 75th percentiles of DR sub-groups were, in almost all cases, lower than whole group (examination) DRLs.


The analysis and summaries presented in the pending survey report can serve to aid local CT imaging optimization efforts within Canada and also contribute further to international efforts in radiation protection of patients.