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Radiologists, medical physicists work to make imaging procedures safer
Date:8/27/2009

OAK BROOK, Ill. The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) reaffirmed its commitment to patient safety today in responding to a study and accompanying perspective on radiation dose from medical imaging procedures in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

In "Exposure to Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation from Medical Imaging Procedures," Reza Fazel, M.D., M.Sc., and colleagues reported that imaging procedures are a key source of ionizing radiation exposure in the U.S. and that repeat exams can result in high cumulative doses of radiation. "Elements of Danger The Case of Medical Imaging," a perspective by cardiologist Michael S. Lauer, M.D., goes beyond that conclusion to assert that most medical imaging exams offer net negative results with little high-level evidence of benefit.

The Fazel article has elicited media and public attention to a topic that many radiology professionals believe should be at the forefront. It is important that one of the salient points from the authors not be overlooked: "An important reason for the growing use of such procedures stems from their ability to radically improve patient care."

There is overwhelming agreement in the radiology community that certain imaging procedures carry risk, but with appropriate utilization, low-dose protocols and implementation of programs that track cumulative dose in the patient's medical record, the potential benefits far outweigh that risk. Radiologists, medical physicists and other radiology professionals have long recognized that there needs to be conscientious implementation of medical procedures that deliver ionizing radiation and have assumed a collective responsibility for maintaining rigorous standards of practice. Radiologists recognize their responsibility to implement and to follow appropriateness criteria for performing imaging exams. Recent studies have shown that the most significant growth in utilization of imaging procedures has occurred as
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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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