Open Access

Local diagnostic reference levels in diagnostic and therapeutic pediatric cardiology at a specialist pediatric hospital in South Africa


Introduction: Children may be at a higher risk of experiencing the detrimental effects of ionizing radiation arising from medical radiation imaging. Dose optimisation is therefore recommended to provide assurance that their exposure is as low as reasonably achievable. To this end, periodic assessment of dose levels and establishment of Local Diagnostic Reference Levels (LDRLs) in medical facilities is necessary. There is a general paucity in the literature of data pertaining to dose levels in pediatric interventional radiology. This study establishes LDRLs in diagnostic and therapeutic heart catheterization procedures at a specialist pediatric hospital in a resource constrained country.

Material and methods: Dose indicators from actual patient procedures were collected from the archive and analyzed retrospectively to determine the median, 25th, and 75th percentiles of the total Air Kerma Area Product (KAP), Cumulative Air Kerma (CAK), total Fluoroscopy Time (FT), and a total number of Cine Images (CI) of selected interventional procedures. The dose indicators were also age-stratified into five age groups defined by the International Commission on Radiation Protection publication 135. The results were compared to values available from similar studies in the literature to benchmark our dose levels. Local Dose Reference Levels were set as the 75th percentile values.

Results: For diagnostic procedures (n = 80), the 75th percentiles of KAP, CAK, FT, and CI were 4.0 Gy·cm2, 31.5 mGy, 14.3 min, and 315 frames, respectively and 3.2 Gy·cm2, 30.5 mGy, 17.5 min, and 606 frames, respectively for therapeutic procedures (n = 143).

Conclusions: The LDRLs from this study did not vary significantly from those published in the literature, suggesting that practices at our center were comparable to international norms. Regular reviews of the LDRLs must be conducted to check that the dose levels do not deviate considerably.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Physics, Technical and Applied Physics, Medical Physics