Current Issues & Debates
- Controversies exist whether low-dose (less than 150 mSv) medical radiation tests are related to development of cancer.
- Model used to extrapolate the cancer risk from low-dose medical radiation exposure is a "linear-no-threshold hypothesis", which implies that any amount of ionizing radiation (even small) has a finite probability of inducing cancer.
- This approach is widely accepted and used for radiation protection regulations and guidelines by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.
- Several recent studies and news reports have raised concerns regarding radiation exposure from medical devices (particularly CT and nuclear cardiology)
- A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine estimated that radiation from CT might cause 29,000 new cancers and 14,500 deaths a year. Another study in the same journal pointed out that patients may have received much higher radiation from imaging tests than previous believed. Read synopsis in the older RiT post.
- Radiology and Imaging Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center will incorporate radiation dose exposure reports into the electronic medical record (EMR)
- The process will be developed in corporation with major equipment vendors beginning with exposures from CT and PET/CT
- Radiation dose will be recorded, entered into DICOM header for CT and PET/CT and stored either in radiology information system or preferably hospital-based EMR. It should be trackable by patients in their own personal health records
What Will It Do?
- It is the first step toward monitoring patient dose
- It is the basis for future research on this subject
- Who knows, in the future this may be required in all institutions...
Are you monitoring patient dose of CT and PET/CT in your institution? If yes, how?
Neumann RD, Bluemke DA. Tracking radiation exposure from diagnostic imaging devices at the NIH. J Am Coll Radiol 2010;7:87-89.