Rofo 2019; 191(08): 739-751
DOI: 10.1055/a-0824-7603
Quality/Quality Assurance
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Diagnostic Reference Levels for Diagnostic and Interventional X-Ray Procedures in Germany: Update and Handling

Article in several languages: English | deutsch
Alexander Schegerer
1  Department of Medical and Occupational Radiation Protection, Federal Office for Radiation Protection, Neuherberg, Germany
,
Reinhard Loose
2  Institute for Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Paracelsus Medical University, General Hospital Nuremberg, Germany
,
Lothar J. Heuser
3  Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany
,
Gunnar Brix
1  Department of Medical and Occupational Radiation Protection, Federal Office for Radiation Protection, Neuherberg, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

08 February 2018

18 November 2018

Publication Date:
21 January 2019 (online)

Abstract

Purpose Recent developments in medical technology have broadened the spectrum of X-ray procedures and changed exposure practice in X-ray facilities. For this reason, diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) for diagnostic and interventional X-ray procedures were updated in 2016 and 2018, respectively. It is the aim of this paper to present the procedure for the update of the DRLs and to give advice on their practical application.

Materials and Methods For the determination of DRLs, data from different independent sources that collect dose-relevant data from different facilities in Germany were considered. Seven different weight intervals were specified for classifying pediatric X-ray procedures. For each X-ray procedure considered, the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile of the respective national distribution of the dose-relevant parameters were determined. Additionally, effective doses that correspond to the DRLs were estimated.

Results In procedures with already existing DRLs before 2016, the values were lowered by circa 20 % on average. Numerous DRLs were established for the first time (9 for interventional procedures, 10 for CT examinations).

Conclusion For dose optimizations even below the new national DRLs, the BfS recommends establishing local reference levels, using dose management software (particularly in CT and interventional radiology), adapting dose-relevant parameters of X-ray protocols to the individual patient size, and establishing internal radiation protection teams responsible for optimizing X-ray procedures in clinical practice. When applying good medical practice and using modern equipment, the median dose values of the nationwide dose distributions can not only be easily achieved but can even be undercut.

Key Points:

  • German diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) für diagnostic and interventional X-ray procedures were updated in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

  • For X-ray procedures for which DRLs existed already before the update, the updated DLRs were lowered by circa 20 %, on average.

  • For CT and interventional radiology, new DRLs were established.

  • X-ray procedures have to be optimized even below the DRLs.

Citation Format

  • Schegerer A, Loose R, Heuser LJ et al. Diagnostic Reference Levels for Diagnostic and Interventional X-Ray Procedures in Germany: Update and Handling. Fortschr Röntgenstr 2019; 191: 739 – 751