Influence of patient age on normalized effective doses calculated for CT examinations

A. Khursheed*, M. C. Hillier, Paul Shrimpton, B. F. Wall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Citations (Scopus)


Monte Carlo simulations of CT examinations have been performed to estimate effective doses, normalized to axial air kerma, for six mathematical phantoms representing ages from newborn to adult, and for three CT scanner models covering a range of designs. Organ doses were calculated for CT exposures of contiguous, 1 cm wide, transverse slices in each phantom and summed to give normalized effective doses for scans of four regions of the trunk and head. In all cases an inverse trend is observed between normalized effective dose and phantom age, with the dose to the newborn from head and neck scans being 2.2-2.5 times higher than that to the adult, depending on scanner model. Corresponding increases for scans of the trunk region are more variable between scanners and range from a factor of 1.3 to 2.4. If typical clinical exposure conditions for adults are also utilized for children, then, for example, the effective dose to the newborn from a chest scan could be above 15 mSv. It is concluded that CT has the potential to deliver significantly greater radiation doses to children than to adults and in view of their greater susceptibility to radiation effects, special efforts should be made in clinical practice to reduce doses to children by the use of size-specific scan protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-830
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number898
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2002


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