Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tracking Radiation Doses

In a report published by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement, the U.S population’s total exposure to ionizing radiation has nearly doubled over the past two decades. These figures are expected to continue to grow. This rise is largely attributable to increased exposure from CT systems, nuclear medicine, and interventional fluoroscopy.

In 2010, FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health published a white paper “Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging” with information on the steps needed to promote the safe use of medical imaging devices, support informed clinical decision making, and increase patient awareness concerning this issue so that imaging procedures are not ordered without sufficient justification.

There are a number of issues that need to be addressed to support informed clinical decision making, since many ordering physicians do not always have access to patients’ medical imaging or radiation dose history.

Problems that arise due to insufficient information:

• Physicians may unnecessarily order imaging procedures that have already been conducted
• Standardized dose structured reporting, while technically available in new CT systems and Fluoroscopes used in interventional procedures, is still in its infancy
• Dose reports are not always contained in either the image files or in the patient’s paper or electronic medical records
• Ordering physicians may lack or be unaware of recommended criteria to guide their decisions about whether or not a particular imaging procedure is medically efficacious

Go to to download the report.