La radiologia medica

, Volume 123, Issue 3, pp 191–201 | Cite as

Radiation dose exposure in patients affected by lymphoma undergoing repeat CT examinations: how to manage the radiation dose variability

  • Fabio Paolicchi
  • Luca Bastiani
  • Davide Guido
  • Antonio Dore
  • Giacomo Aringhieri
  • Davide Caramella



To assess the variability of radiation dose exposure in patients affected by lymphoma undergoing repeat CT (computed tomography) examinations and to evaluate the influence of different scan parameters on the overall radiation dose.

Materials and methods

A series of 34 patients (12 men and 22 women with a median age of 34.4 years) with lymphoma, after the initial staging CT underwent repeat follow-up CT examinations. For each patient and each repeat examination, age, sex, use of AEC system (Automated Exposure Control, i.e. current modulation), scan length, kV value, number of acquired scans (i.e. number of phases), abdominal size diameter and dose length product (DLP) were recorded. The radiation dose of just one venous phase was singled out from the DLP of the entire examination. All scan data were retrieved by our PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) by means of a dose monitoring software.


Among the variables we considered, no significant difference of radiation dose was observed among patients of different ages nor concerning tube voltage. On the contrary the dose delivered to the patients varied depending on sex, scan length and usage of AEC. No significant difference was observed depending on the behaviour of technologists, while radiologists’ choices had indirectly an impact on the radiation dose due to the different number of scans requested by each of them.


Our results demonstrate that patients affected by lymphoma who undergo repeat whole body CT scanning may receive unnecessary overexposure. We quantified and analyzed the most relevant variables in order to provide a useful tool to manage properly CT dose variability, estimating the amount of additional radiation dose for every single significant variable. Additional scans, incorrect scan length and incorrect usage of AEC system are the most relevant cause of patient radiation exposure.


Computed tomography Radiation exposure Lymphoma Dose optimization Surveillance Radioprotection 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Medical Radiology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabio Paolicchi
    • 1
  • Luca Bastiani
    • 2
  • Davide Guido
    • 3
  • Antonio Dore
    • 4
  • Giacomo Aringhieri
    • 1
  • Davide Caramella
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic and Interventional RadiologyUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research CouncilPisaItaly
  3. 3.Neurology, Public Health and Disability UnitNeurological Institute Carlo Besta IRCCS FoundationMilanItaly
  4. 4.Degli Infermi HospitalPiedmontItaly

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