Levels of radiation from imaging

Cite this article as:
Tessa Davis. Levels of radiation from imaging, Don't Forget the Bubbles, 2013. Available at:
Typical Effective Dose (mSv)Number of chest X-rays (PA film) for Equivalent Effective DoseTime Period for Equivalent Effective Dose from Natural Background Radiation
Abdo CT84002.7 years
Chest CT52501.7 years
Head CT2100243 days
Barium enema84002.7 years
Upper GI63002 years
IVU31501 year
Lumbar spine1.575182 days
Skull x-ray0.1512 days
Chest x-ray (PA film)0.0212.4 days
Airline flight0.0212.4 days
  1. Average effective dose in millisieverts (mSv) as compiled by Fred A. Mettler, Jr., et al., “Effective Doses in Radiology and Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine:  A Catalog,” Radiology Vol. 248, No. 1, pp. 254-263, July 2008.
  2. Based on the assumption of an average “effective dose” from chest x ray (PA film) of 0.02 mSv.
  3. Based on the assumption of an average “effective dose” from natural background radiation of 3 mSv per year.


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X-ray Risk, accessed online