Navigation Links
Unindicated CT series result in unnecessary radiation exposure for patients

CHICAGO A large proportion of patients who undergo abdominal/pelvic computed tomography (CT) receive unindicated and unnecessary additional image acquisition resulting in excess, avoidable radiation exposure, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"It is the responsibility of all physicians who work with ionizing radiation to ensure that the dosage is as low as reasonably achievable without compromising the patient's well being," said Kristie Guite, M.D., radiology resident at the University of Wisconsin (UW) in Madison. "Our study found that this principle is not being followed in many practices."

A CT examination consists of imaging the patient using a CT scanner and sometimes involves the injection of an intravenous contrast agent. Imaging can be performed at multiple time points before and/or after the injection of the contrast material. Each image acquisition is referred to as a "series." Although having multiple series can be helpful for some conditions, they are not generally necessary.

Because it provides valuable diagnostic information, CT use has risen rapidly. In recent years, a number of reports have highlighted the increasing radiation exposure to patients through the use of medical imaging, particularly CT. While these reports have often focused on general and screening uses, little attention has been paid to radiation from additional series, including routine non-contrast or delayed-phase CT, which may or may not be indicated by the patient's condition but are sometimes performed so that nothing is overlooked.

To determine the frequency of unindicated additional scanning and the resultant excess radiation exposure to patients, the researchers reviewed the appropriateness and radiation dose of abdomen and pelvis CT exams for 500 patients performed at outside institutions and submitted to UW Madison for interpretation. The patients ranged in age from nine months to 91 years, with most between 30 and 50 years old.

There were a total of 978 series for the 500 patients. Using the American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria, 35.3 percent (345/978) of the CT series in 52.2 percent (261/500) of the patients were determined to be unindicated. The most common unnecessary exam was delayed-phase imaging, accounting for 268 (77.7 percent) of the 345 unnecessary series. In delayed-phase imaging, several images of the same region are obtained a short period of time after contrast injection to detect changes. Among the 500 patients, the mean excess radiation dose per patient from unnecessary scans was 11.3 millisieverts (mSv), equivalent to the dose received from 113 chest x-rays or three years of naturally occurring background radiation.

"We suspect that at many institutions there is a lack of focus on selecting CT protocols tailored specifically to answer the clinical question," said coauthor J. Louis Hinshaw, M.D., assistant professor of radiology at UW Madison. "It is certainly easier to select an 'every size fits all' approach."

The researchers also noted a possible connection in some cases between additional scanning and increased payment, such as performing both non-contrast and contrast-enhanced scans when only one series was indicated.

Efforts are ongoing to protect patients from unnecessary radiation exposure from medical imaging procedures, including the Image Gently initiative for safety in pediatric radiology and an ACR-RSNA task force for adult radiation protection. In addition to following strict appropriate imaging utilization standards, radiologists and medical physicists stress the importance of minimizing dose without sacrificing diagnostic ability. Advances in CT technology over recent years have markedly decreased dose while maintaining optimal image quality.

Dr. Guite advises patients not to be unduly alarmed when their physician orders a CT exam.

"The use of CT has been a huge benefit to human health," she said. "When used appropriately, the benefits of the diagnostic information obtained with CT far outweigh the potential risks."

Dr. Hinshaw suggests that patients ask their physicians about the risks and benefits of the proposed exam and inquire at the CT facility as to the number of series that will be performed, and if a smaller number of series would be sufficient.


Contact: Linda Brooks
Radiological Society of North America

Related medicine news :

1. ADDA Kicks Off AD/HD Awareness Campaign with Four Regional Conferences Beginning Sept. 29 and Series of Fall Teleclasses
2. Lab Series(R) Skincare For Men Spa Indulges the 2007 Primetime Emmy(R) Nominees at the Sofitel(R) Los Angeles
3. Visiprise Launches Podcast Series with AMR to Support Medical Device Manufacturers
4. Locally Produced Health Series Nominated for Emmy in its First Year
5. Charlie Rose Science Series Explores Heart Disease
6. New Seminar Series from Activator Methods Teaches Doctors a Unique Approach to Improving Nations Chiropractic Care: Focus on the Patients
7. HealthSouth Declares Dividend on 6.5% Series A Convertible Perpetual Preferred Stock
8. Sagent Pharmaceuticals Inc. Completes $53 Million Series A Financing
9. From Microscope to Stethoscope: the MUHCs distinguished public lecture series begins a second seaso
10. From microscope to stethoscope: The MUHCs public lecture series begins its 2nd season tomorrow
11. Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics Announces the Release of the Rapidlab 1200 Series Version 2.0 Software
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... “While riding the bus, I ... Bronx, N.Y. “I thought there had to be a convenient and comfortable way to ... The PROTECTOR enables disabled individuals to safely travel during cold or inclement weather. In ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... (PHA) announces the nation’s Periwinkle Pioneers, individuals and groups responsible for advancing care ... disease. The Periwinkle Pioneers, nominated by the public, will receive special recognition throughout ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... philanthropic seniors, is resulting in a way for homeless people to have a ... have launched a new initiative whereby they are repurposing plastic bags into sleeping ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Since its launch in 2012, ... adult stem cell therapies to patients with chronic degenerative medical conditions. Now, the ... Registered Trademark (RTM). , Organizations are required to hold a registered trademark in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Genesis Chiropractic Software ... software creates an agreement between the practice owner and the patient that automatically ... notification, and projections. Click here to learn more. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... FRANCISCO , Nov. 24, 2015  Thanks to ... Dignity Health St. Mary,s Medical Center,s Sister Diane Grassilli ... breast imaging capabilities in San Francisco ... an anonymous friend, stepped forward with a gift of ... for Breast Digital Mammography with Tomosynthesis and Whole Breast ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Colo. , Nov. 24, 2015  Array ... that its Chief Executive Officer, Ron Squarer ... Healthcare Conference in New York.  The public is ... webcast on the Array BioPharma website.Event:Piper Jaffray Annual ... , Wednesday, December 2, 2015Time:1:30 p.m. Eastern Time ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... HOUSTON, TX and VANCOUVER, Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... EPI; NASDAQ: EPIX ) announced today that the ... clinical study of EPI-506 as a treatment for metastatic ... States and Canada.  --> ... --> In the Phase 1/2 clinical trial, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: