An Environmental Scan of the National and Provincial Diagnostic Reference Levels in Canada for Common Adult Computed Tomography Scans
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Several regulatory bodies have agreed that low-dose radiation used in medical imaging is a weak carcinogen that follows a linear, non-threshold model of cancer risk. While avoiding radiation is the best course of action to mitigate risk, computed tomography (CT) scans are often critical for diagnosis. In addition to the as low as reasonably achievable principle, a more concrete method of dose reduction for common CT imaging exams is the use of a diagnostic reference level (DRL). This paper examines Canada's national DRL values from the recent CT survey and compares it to published provincial DRLs as well as the DRLs in the United Kingdom and the United States of America for the 3 most common CT exams: head, chest, and abdomen/pelvis. Canada compares well on the international scale, but it should consider using more electronic dose monitoring solutions to create a culture of dose optimization.
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