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Patients with digestive disorders may receive high levels of X-ray radiation
Date:3/29/2012

creases in the amount of radiation to which patients are exposed. This is a cause for concern, because radiation exposure might be associated with increased lifetime risk of cancer. These risks may be particularly relevant to younger patients.

"Most patients with gastrointestinal disorders had diagnostic X-rays performed at some point during their work-up, with older age and longer duration of follow-up both increasing the chances of having multiple X-rays performed," added Dr. Desmond. "In this study, we were particularly interested in patients whose cumulative radiation exposures were in the top ten percent for the entire population. The majority of these patients were being investigated for inflammatory bowel disease. The most concerning finding might be that more than half of the patients in this higher exposure group were younger than 35 years of age."

Alternative, radiation-free imaging options, including ultrasound, capsule endoscopy and magnetic resonance imaging, are available. However, evidence-based guidelines on the use of diagnostic imaging in patients with GI disorders, especially those that reduce radiation exposure, are still needed.

The authors emphasize that diagnostic X-ray examinations, including CT, are valuable diagnostic tests that allow speedy and accurate diagnosis of many conditions and pose little or no risk to the majority of patients. The authors' findings have led them to perform further research showing that new, low-radiation techniques for performing CT scans are particularly useful in patients with Crohn's disease. They will publish this new research in the near future.


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Contact: Alissa J. Cruz
media@gastro.org
301-272-1603
American Gastroenterological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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