Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging

This post was authored by Rodd Santomauro and posted to The Eye Opener on April 12th, 2010.

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The FDA has recently launched a comprehensive new study regarding ways to reduce radiation exposure as a result of medical imaging.  The on-line article sets the background for the study, then provides comprehensive scientific and medical information for support:

Like all medical procedures, computed tomography (CT), fluoroscopy, and nuclear medicine imaging exams present both benefits and risks.  These types of imaging procedures have led to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of numerous medical conditions.  At the same time, these types of exams expose patients to ionizing radiation, which may elevate a person’s lifetime risk of developing cancer.  As part of a balanced public health approach, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeks to support the benefits of these medical imaging exams while minimizing the risks.

Through the Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging, FDA is advocating the universal adoption of two principles of radiation protection: appropriate justification for ordering each procedure, and careful optimization of the radiation dose used during each procedure.  Each patient should get the right imaging exam, at the right time, with the right radiation dose.

The related White Paper discusses types of medical imaging procedures,  factors causing the unnecessary exposure, and proposes possible solutions.  The factors include: Issues relating to Device Use, as well as Issues Relating to Clinical Decision Making.  Solutions include: Promoting Safe Use of Medical Imaging Devices, supporting informed clinical decision making, as well as increasing patient awareness.

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