Provision of Italian diagnostic reference levels for diagnostic and interventional radiology

Gaetano Compagnone, Renato Padovani, Loredana D’Ercole, Antonio Orlacchio, Guglielmo Bernardi, Maria Antonietta D’Avanzo, Sveva Grande, Alessandra Palma, Francesco Campanella, Antonella Rosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The diagnostic reference level (DRL) is a useful tool for the optimisation of medical exposures. Thus, a Working Party coordinated by the Italian National Institute of Health and the National Workers Compensation Authority has been formed to provide Italian DRLs, for both diagnostic and interventional procedures, to be used as appropriate for the implementation of the 2013/59 European Directive into the national regulation. Materials and methods: The multidisciplinary Working Party was formed by professionals involved in diagnostic and interventional radiology medical exposures and started from a critical revision of both the literature and the results of previous Italian surveys. The procedures were divided into five sections for adult (projection radiography, mammography, diagnostic fluoroscopy, CT and interventional radiology) and two sections for paediatric patients (projection radiography and CT). The provided DRL values have been identified for “normal” adult patients and for age-classes of paediatric patients. Results: Some of the DRL values provided by the Working Party are reported in this study as an example, divided by adult/paediatric patients, radiological technique and examination: specifically, DRLs for new radiological practices and new dose quantities as DRLs metric were introduced. The median value (rather than the mean) for each procedure, derived from a sample of patients, has to be compared with the corresponding DRL value, and dosimetric data related to a minimum number of patients should be collected for each examination. Conclusions: The approach to the definition and use of DRLs through guidelines of national Authorities in collaboration with scientific Associations should simplify the periodical updating and could be useful for keeping the optimisation of medical exposures faithful to the development of radiological practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRadiologia Medica
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Diagnostic radiology
  • Diagnostic reference level
  • Interventional radiology
  • Optimisation
  • Patient dose
  • Radiation protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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