Mathematical modeling of the radiation dose received from photons passing over and through shielding walls in a pet/ct suite

Lotte Fog, John Cormack

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Given that the financial cost of shielding PET/CT suites can be substantial, it has become increasingly important to be able to accurately assess the thickness of shielding required for barriers and whether it is necessary to extend such shielding all the way to the ceiling. The overall shielding requirement for a PET/CT installation must take into account both 511 keV gamma ray emissions from PET scans and lower energy x-ray scatter from CT scans. This paper deals with the overall impact of emissions from both modalities. Radiation exposure from both scatter over shielding barriers as well as transmission through these barriers is taken into account. A series of simulations of the dose received by a person positioned behind a shielding barrier in a typical PET/CT scanning suite were carried out using both Monte Carlo and analytical models. The transmission through lead barriers was found to be very dependent on the geometry of the radiation source and the resulting energy spectrum of the emitted radiation. The transmission from a patient source was found to be around half of that from a small vial and also half of that reported previously using parallel beams of mono-energetic radiation. For PET emissions, the dose from scatter over the barrier at waist height is relatively small but may have to be taken into account if the design dose limit is low. Shielding from floor to ceiling is probably not warranted in most instances for PET gamma emissions; in PET/CT installations, however, a thinner layer of shielding may need to extend to the ceiling of the imaging room to limit x-ray scatter over the wall from the CT unit.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)769-779
    Number of pages11
    JournalHealth Physics
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


    • computed tomography
    • dose
    • Monte Carlo
    • positron emission tomography


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