COMMUNICATING RISKS TO PATIENTS: PAGE 3 of 6
There are tools that help physicians explain radiation doses from medical imaging to patients in terms of background radiation.
Tool #1: Background Equivalent Radiation Time (BERT)
1 BERT = 1 day of background radiation
The chart to the right demonstrates BERT values for some common exams
Hey you. . . math wiz. . . want the formula so that you can calculate the BERT for essentially any study or dose? click here
Who's this BERT guy?
Tool #2: Another way to explain dose to patients is in relation to the extra radiation received from an airplane flight.
This is best suited for radiographs
One chest x-ray would be the equivalent of about 10 hours of flight time.
One pelvis x-ray would be the equivalent of about 60 hours of flight time.
One head CT would be about 200 hours of flight time.