Use of CT dose notification and alert values in routine clinical practice

Michelle E. Howard, Cynthia H. McCollough, Shuai Leng, Lifeng Yu, Mike R. Bruesewitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective The purpose of this investigation was to assess the impact on workflow of the use of notification and alert values in our practice and to provide baseline data for quality improvement initiatives. Methods and Materials Five diagnostic clinical CT scanners were programmed with the notification and alert values recommended by the American Association of Physics in Medicine. Retrospective analysis was performed on log files to assess the frequency of and reason for notification and alert events. Results Between February and September of 2012, 11,384 patients were scanned on the 5 systems. One alert occurred because of the use of bolus tracking in a morbidly obese patient, where the prescan cumulative volume CT dose index for the exam exceeded the recommended alert value of 1,000 mGy. Only 1.2 ± 0.6% of patient scans triggered a notification. Notifications were mainly triggered because of bolus tracking and/or large patient size. Protocols triggering notifications most often included CT angiography of the chest for pulmonary emboli. Conclusion Because only a small percentage of performed patient examinations triggered a notification or alert event, the impact on workflow of adopting these features was negligible. Evaluation of the logs identified trends in reasons for which notification events were triggered; these primarily included large patient size and bolus tracking. Additionally, specific protocols were identified where adjustment of notification values was deemed necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-455
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • CT
  • dose check
  • notification and alert values
  • patient safety initiatives
  • radiation dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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