Objective: The aims of this study are to propose a new set of Japanese diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) for 2014 and to study the impact of tube voltage and the type of reconstruction algorithm on patient doses. The volume CT dose index (CTDIvol) for adult and paediatric patients is assessed and compared with the results of a 2011 national survey and data from other countries. Methods: Scanning procedures for the head (non-helical and helical), chest and upper abdomen were examined for adults and 5-year-old children. A questionnaire concerning the following items was sent to 3000 facilities: tube voltage, use of reconstruction algorithms and displayed CTDIvol. Results: The mean CTDIvol values for paediatric examinations using voltages ranging from 80 to 100 kV were significantly lower than those for paediatric examinations using 120kV. For adult examinations, the use of iterative reconstruction algorithms significantly reduced the mean CTDIvol values compared with the use of filtered back projection. Paediatric chest and abdominal scans showed slightly higher mean CTDIvol values in 2014 than in 2011. The proposed DRLs for adult head and abdominal scans were higher than those reported in other countries. Conclusion: The results imply that further optimization of CT examination protocols is required for adult head and abdominal scans as well as paediatric chest and abdominal scans. Advances in knowledge: Low-tube-voltage CT may be useful for reducing radiation doses in paediatric patients. The mean CTDIvol values for paediatric scans showed little difference that could be attributed to the choice of reconstruction algorithm.
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