Diagnostic reference levels for X-ray examinations in Slovenia
Background. Medical applications of ionizing radiation are by far the largest man-made source of radiation exposure for the population in most developed countries. A good practice in diagnostic radiology should produce an image containing all necessary information needed for accurate diagnosis and should result in the minimum dose to the patient. After introduction of diagnostic reference level by International Commission on Radiological Protection in 1996 the process of patient exposure optimization has been enhanced.
Methods. Local performance in patient exposure for particular type of X-ray examination in radiological department can be assessed by comparison of mean patient dose to the diagnostic reference level derived from relevant regional or national data.
Results. Results of extensive five-year national patient dose survey in Slovenia are reviewed. The proposed Slovenian diagnostic reference levels for fifteen different X-ray examinations are presented, commented and compared with international and national levels of other countries.
Conclusions. The introduction of national diagnostic reference levels will increase the awareness of patient doses in Slovenia. Their proper use should promote good radiological practice by reducing doses where current practice is not optimised.