Theses Doctoral

Effective dose estimation for U.S. Army soldiers undergoing multiple computed tomography scans

Prins, Robert Dean

Diagnosing the severity of blunt trauma injuries is difficult and involves the use of diagnostic radiological scanning. The primary diagnostic radiology modality used for assessing these injuries is computed tomography (CT). CT delivers more radiation dose than other diagnostic scanning modalities. Trauma patients are at an increased risk of radiation induced cancer because of the cumulative dose effects from multiple scanning procedures. Current methods for estimating effective dose, the quantity used to describe the whole body health detriment from radiation, involves the use of published conversion coefficients and procedure specific machine parameters such as dose-length-product based on computed tomography dose index and scan length. Other methods include the use of Monte Carlo simulations based upon the specific machine geometry and radiation source. Unless the requisite machine information is known, the only means of estimating the effective dose is through the use of generic estimates that are published by scientific radiation committees and have a wide range of values. This research addressed a knowledge gap in assigning effective doses from computed tomography when machine parameters knowledge is either unknown or incomplete. The research involved the development of a new method of estimating the effective dose from CT through the use of regression models incorporating the use of patient parameters as opposed to machine specific parameters. This new method was experimentally verified using two adult anthropomorphic phantoms and optically stimulated luminescent dosimeters. The new method was then compared against a real patient population undergoing similar computed tomography scanning procedures. Utilizing statistical procedures, the new method was tested for repeatability and bias against the current conversion coefficient method. The analysis of the new method verifies that the estimation ability is similar to recent research indicating that the older conversion coefficient methods can underestimate the effective dose to the patient by up to 40%. The new method can be used as a retrospective tool for effective dose estimation from CT trauma protocols for a patient population with physical characteristics similar to the U.S. Army Soldier population.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Environmental Health Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Freyer, Greg Aloysius
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 11, 2011


Thesis (Ph.D.)--Columbia University, 2011.