Original Research

An audit of patient radiation doses in interventional radiology at a South African hospital

Oneile Slave, Nasreen Mahomed
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 27, No 1 | a2559 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v27i1.2559 | © 2023 Oneile Slave, Nasreen Mahomed | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 September 2022 | Published: 20 January 2023

About the author(s)

Oneile Slave, Department of Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Nasreen Mahomed, Department of Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Interventional radiology (IR) is becoming more relevant in patient care and is associated with increased patient radiation exposure and radiation-induced adverse effects. Diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) are crucial for radiation control. There is a paucity of published DRLs for IR in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

Objectives: This study aimed to determine local DRLs for fluoroscopically-guided IR procedures and compare the achieved DRLs with published local and international DRLs.

Method: Retrospective, descriptive, single-centre study. Kerma air product (KAP), reference point air kerma (Ka,r) and fluoroscopy time (FT) were collected for patients (12 years and older) who underwent IR procedures at a university hospital from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. The 75th percentile of the distribution of each dose parameter (KAP, Ka,r and FT) per procedure was calculated and taken as the local diagnostic reference levels (LDRL). The established LDRLs were compared to published DRLs.

Results: A total of 564 cases were evaluated. The 13 most frequent procedures (with 15 or more cases) represented 86.1% (487/564). Percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage was the most common procedure (n = 146, 25.9%). Diagnostic cerebral angiogram DRLs exceeded the published DRL data ranges for all parameters (DRL 209.3), and interventional cerebral angiogram exceeded published ranges (DRL 275). Uterine artery embolisation (UAE) exceeded these ranges for KAP and Ka,r. (KAP-954.9 Gy/cm2, Ka,r-2640.8 mGy).

Conclusion: The LDRLs for diagnostic cerebral angiogram, interventional cerebral angiogram and UAE exceeded published international DRL ranges. These procedures require radiation optimisation as recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).

Contribution: In addition to informing radiation protection practices at the level of the institution, the established LDRLs contribute towards Regional and National DRLs.


Interventional radiology; diagnostic reference level; kerma air product; reference point air kerma; fluoroscopy time


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Crossref Citations

1. Diagnostic Reference Levels in Paediatric Fluoroscopy: A Single-Centre Study in South Africa
J Mbewe, T Payne
South African Radiographer  vol: 62  issue: 1  first page: 24  year: 2024  
doi: 10.54450/saradio.2024.62.1.825