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U-M study: Kids frequently exposed to medical imaging procedures that use radiation
Date:1/3/2011

ANN ARBOR, Mich. The rapid growth in use of medical diagnostic imaging, such as CT scans, has led to widespread concern about radiation exposure in adults and the potential for future cancer risk in patients undergoing these tests.

A new study led by University of Michigan researchers now shows that kids also frequently receive these types of imaging procedures during their routine clinical care, and highlights the importance of initiatives to ensure that those tests being performed are necessary and use the lowest possible doses of radiation.

"Our findings indicate that more awareness about the frequent use of these tests may be needed among care providers, hospitals and parents," says Adam L. Dorfman, M.D., clinical assistant professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases and of radiology at the U-M Medical School. "Imaging tests are a critical component of good medical care, but the high number of tests raises questions about whether we are being judicious in our use of the technology."

The results of this study were published online today in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Despite widespread discussions about the health hazards of environmental exposures in children, radiation exposure from the frequent use of imaging procedures has received less attention, possibly due to limited contemporary data in younger patients. As such, this study identified 355,088 children under the age of 18 in five large U.S. health care markets to track how often these imaging procedures are used. The study found that over 400,000 imaging procedures were performed in just 3 years, with 42.5% of the children receiving at least one of these procedures and many undergoing multiple tests. The types of tests the investigators considered included everything from routine x-rays that use very low doses of radiation to more advanced tests, like CT scans, that require doses that are greater. Based on these data, the avera
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Contact: Margarita B. Wagerson
mbauza@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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