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FDA Unveils Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging
Date:2/9/2010

past 20 years," said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "The goal of FDA's initiative is to support the benefits associated with medical imaging while minimizing the risks."

While there is some disagreement over the extent of the cancer risk associated with exposure to radiation from medical imaging, there is broad agreement that steps can and should be taken to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure.

For example, the radiation dose associated with a CT abdomen scan is the same as the dose from approximately 400 chest X-rays. In comparison, a dental X-ray calls for approximately one-half the radiation dose of a chest X-ray. Both diagnostics serve important, sometimes critical, public health needs.

Through the FDA's regulatory oversight of medical imaging devices, such as CT scanners, and through collaboration with other federal agencies and health care professional groups, the FDA is advocating the adoption of two principles of radiation protection:  appropriate justification of the radiation procedure and optimization of the radiation dose used during each procedure.

"Working together," said Shuren, "the FDA and other organizations hope to help patients get the right imaging exam, at the right time, with the right radiation dose."

The three-pronged initiative the FDA is announcing will promote the safe use of medical imaging devices, support informed clinical decision-making, and increase patient awareness of their own exposure.

The FDA intends to issue targeted requirements for manufacturers of CT and fluoroscopic devices to incorporate important safeguards into the design of their machines to develop safer technologies and to provide appropriate training to support safe use by practitioners. The agency intends to hold a public meeting on March 30-31, 2010, to sol
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SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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