Answer to Question #10552 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
My three-month-old son had a barium swallow test with fluoroscopy and I am very concerned about the amount of radiation he received during the test. The article, "Doses from Medical Radiation Sources" by Mike Stabin, gives amounts for standard x rays for babies, but not fluoroscopy. Is there a way to determine how much radiation he received and if this is harmful?
The amount of radiation that your son received is not harmful. The article you cite estimates a radiation exposure of 1.5 mSv for a standard barium swallow test with 106 seconds of fluoroscopy. This exposure is, however, typical for an adult. Pediatric exposures are much lower than adult exposures because of the size difference between an adult and a child. The amount of x rays needed to produce an image of an infant is far less than needed for an adult, so your son’s exposure would be significantly less than the above radiation dose.
For perspective on this radiation exposure, the average radiation exposure we all receive from naturally occurring radiation in the environment is 3 mSv each year.
Kent Lambert, CHP