Pregnant Female Anthropomorphic Dosimetry in Computed Tomography

Date(s) - 12/05/2012
9:30 am

Matt Hoerner, BME-Medical Physics PhD Student

PhD Oral Proposal

Over the last twenty five years, medical imaging using radiation has significantly increased and as a result an individual is more susceptible to receive a higher dose of radiation over the course of his or her lifetime.  Pregnant female diagnostic studies have followed this trend as there has been a 25% increase in CT imaging studies from 1997 to 2006.1  An increase in studies coupled with newer scanner technology, which has shown to maintain if not raise radiation exposure for a single exam, have resulted in significant increase in individual and collective effective doses.2   The implications of this increase in fetal exposure result in higher risk for both stochastic and deterministic effects.  Most pregnant women will receive less than 50 mGy over the course of their pregnancy.  This dose is the established threshold for concern, as it is less than what is needed to induce abnormalities such as growth and mental retardation, which are common effects documented in the epidemiological studies of the Japanese bomb survivors.  

Using anatomically accurate physical models and advanced dosimetry techniques, the absorbed fetal dose will be evaluated at multiple gestation stages from clinical Computed Tomography exams performed at conventional imaging protocols.  The results of these studies will be compared to current biological data to support or disprove claims about radiation safety in diagnostic radiology, and attempt to justify alternative imaging methods or any additional precautions.