European Radiology

, Volume 26, Issue 12, pp 4221–4230 | Cite as

Frequency of paediatric medical imaging examinations performed at a European teaching hospital over a 7-year period

  • Jonathan L. Portelli
  • Jonathan P. McNulty
  • Paul Bezzina
  • Louise Rainford



The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to gain an insight into frequencies by which a range of medical imaging (MI) examinations were performed on paediatric patients at the main acute general teaching hospital in Malta between 2008 and 2014.


Frequency data of MI examinations performed on paediatric patients were retrospectively collected from relevant information systems. All data was coded accordingly to facilitate data analysis.


A total of 95,805 MI examinations were performed on 39,707 unique paediatric patients (<18 years) between 2008 and 2014. Overall, the total number of paediatric MI examinations performed decreased over time, with use varying depending on modality type and paediatric age. Coincidentally the use of ultrasound and MRI increased year after year. Some paediatric patients underwent at least three MI examinations involving the same anatomical region being scanned, and which may collectively contribute to effective doses exceeding 10 mSv.


Knowledge of how MI examinations are used within the paediatric population can help practices evaluate and address any trends highlighted for particular examinations or age category of paediatric patients. Furthermore, awareness of current trends of MI in children can be helpful for the planning of future paediatric radiology departments.

Key points

Medical imaging (MI) examinations are commonly performed in paediatric patients.

In 7 years 95,805 examinations were performed on 39,707 paediatric patients.

Use of ultrasound and MRI in paediatric patients increased annually.

Highest frequency of MI examinations was observed in neonates/infants younger than 1 year.

Awareness of MI utilisation patterns and trends can help inform practice.


Paediatrics Children Diagnostic Imaging Radiology Radiography 



Computed tomography


Medical Imaging


Magnetic resonance imaging


Radiology information system


United States



The authors wish to gratefully acknowledge Mr. Christian Axiak, Mr. Joseph Debono, and the MITA Support Health Team (ACS) for their assistance during the data collection process. The scientific guarantor of this publication is Dr. Paul Bezzina, Head, Department of Radiography. The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies, whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article. The authors state that this work has not received any funding. Prof. Liberato Camilleri (University of Malta) kindly provided statistical advice and support for this manuscript. Approval was obtained from the University of Malta Research Ethics Committee, the hospital's Chief Executive Officer and Data Protection Officer, and the Medical Imaging Department Chairperson and Manager. Methodology: retrospective, cohort study, performed at one institution.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan L. Portelli
    • 1
  • Jonathan P. McNulty
    • 2
  • Paul Bezzina
    • 1
  • Louise Rainford
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Radiography, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta
  2. 2.Diagnostic Imaging, School of Medicine and Medical ScienceUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

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