Controlling imaging dose levels in children has been a high priority for radiologists in recent months. While the American College of Radiology has been developing a reporting system to monitor dose levels for all patients, researchers at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif., have successfully developed a way to lower pediatric CT dose levels.

The results of the study, led by Jee-Eun Kim, M.D., and Beverley Newman, M.D., were published in the May issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology .

The study included 120 children who underwent chest CT scans. About 60 of the children weighed less than 33 pounds and the rest weighed between 33 and 132 pounds. The researchers adjusted the dose levels based on the children’s weight, lowering the radiation exposure in the lightest children by about 73%. For the heavier children, the reduction was about 48%.

In a press release announcing the results of the study, Newman noted that while reducing the radiation exposure was important, the images still had to be diagnostically acceptable. “In our study, lowering the radiation dose did increase image noise resulting in grainy images. However, the low dose examinations were still considered diagnostically acceptable,” she said.