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Diagnostic Reference Levels in Medical Imaging

ICRP Publication 135

Ann. ICRP 46(1), 2017

E. Vaño, D.L. Miller, C.J. Martin, M.M. Rehani, K. Kang, M. Rosenstein, P. Ortiz-Lopez, S. Mattsson, R. Padovani, A. Rogers

Abstract - The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) first introduced the term ‘diagnostic reference level’ (DRL) in 1996 in Publication 73. The concept was subsequently developed further, and practical guidance was provided in 2001. The DRL has been proven to be an effective tool that aids in optimisation of protection in the medical exposure of patients for diagnostic and interventional procedures. However, with time, it has become evident that additional advice is needed. There are issues related to definitions of the terms used in previous guidance, determination of the values for DRLs, the appropriate interval for reevaluating and updating these values, appropriate use of DRLs in clinical practice, methods for practical application of DRLs, and application of the DRL concept to newer imaging technologies. This publication is intended as a further source of information and guidance on these issues. Some terminology has been clarified. In addition, this publication recommends quantities for use as DRLs for various imaging modalities, and provides information on the use of DRLs for interventional procedures and in paediatric imaging. It suggests modifications in the conduct of DRL surveys that take advantage of automated reporting of radiation-dose-related uantities, and highlights the importance of including information on DRLs in training programmes for healthcare workers. The target audience for this publication is national, regional, and local authorities; professional societies; and facilities that use ionising radiation for medical purposes, and responsible staff within these facilities. A full set of the Commission’s recommendations is provided.

Recommended reference format for citations

ICRP, 2017. Diagnostic reference levels in medical imaging. ICRP Publication 135. Ann. ICRP 46(1).