A risk index for pediatric patients undergoing diagnostic imaging with 99mTc-dimercaptosuccinic acid that accounts for body habitus

Shannon E. O'Reilly, Donika Plyku, George Sgouros, Frederic H. Fahey, S. Ted Treves, Eric Frey, Wesley E. Bolch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Published guidelines for administered activity to pediatric patients undergoing diagnostic nuclear medicine imaging are currently obtained through expert consensus of the minimum values as a function of body weight as required to yield diagnostic quality images. We have previously shown that consideration of body habitus is also important in obtaining diagnostic quality images at the lowest administered activity. The objective of this study was to create a series of computational phantoms that realistically portray the anatomy of the pediatric patient population which can be used to develop and validate techniques to minimize radiation dose while maintaining adequate image quality. To achieve this objective, we have defined an imaging risk index that may be used in future studies to develop pediatric patient dosing guidelines. A population of 48 hybrid phantoms consisting of non-uniform B-spline surfaces and polygon meshes was generated. The representative ages included the newborn, 1 year, 5 year, 10 year and 15 year male and female. For each age, the phantoms were modeled at their 10th, 50th, and 90th height percentile each at a constant 50th weight percentile. To test the impact of kidney size, the newborn phantoms were modeled with the following three kidney volumes: -15%, average, and +15%. To illustrate the impact of different morphologies on dose optimization, we calculated the effective dose for each phantom using weight-based 99mTc-DMSA activity administration. For a given patient weight, body habitus had a considerable effect on effective dose. Substantial variations were observed in the risk index between the 10th and 90th percentile height phantoms from the 50th percentile phantoms for a given age, with the greatest difference being 18%. There was a dependence found between kidney size and risk of radiation induced kidney cancer, with the highest risk indices observed in newborns with the smallest kidneys. Overall, the phantoms and techniques in this study can be used to provide data to refine dosing guidelines for pediatric nuclear imaging studies while taking into account the effects on both radiation dose and image quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2319-2332
Number of pages14
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • DMSA
  • dose reduction
  • dosimetry
  • pediatric imaging
  • renal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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