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Ionising radiation from diagnostic x rays in very low birthweight babies

Abstract

AIM To quantify the exposure of very low birthweight neonates to ionising radiation from diagnosticx-rays.

METHODS Retrospective analysis was made of all radiographs performed over 18 months in an integrated special care baby unit and regional neonatal surgical unit in a large teaching hospital of surviving inborn babies of very low birthweight (<1500 g) admitted to the unit.

RESULTS Fifty five VLBW neonates were treated for a total of 3296 days and received 498 radiographs (median 5 per infant). The mean effective radiation dose was 0.04 mSv and the maximum for one infant was 0.54 mSv.

CONCLUSIONS The radiation burden in this group of neonates is low and the benefits of diagnostic radiographs far outweigh any potential radiation risks.

  • radiographs
  • ionising radiation
  • very low birthweight
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