[ RadSafe ] RSNA respond to NEJM article on CT scans and cancer

John Jacobus crispy_bird at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 1 17:01:48 CST 2007


RSNA News Release
Radiologists, Medical Physicists Working Toward
Patient Safety in CT
Released: November 28, 2007

Media Contacts: RSNA Newsroom 1-312-949-3233 
After 11/29/07: RSNA Media Relations 1-630-590-7762 

 Maureen Morley
mmorley at rsna.org Linda Brooks
lbrooks at rsna.org 

Chicago, Nov. 28, 2007 – Today at the annual meeting
of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA),
the largest international medical meeting, radiology
professionals responded to a review article in The New
England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). "Computed
Tomography – An Increasing Source of Radiation
Exposure," authored by David Brenner, Ph.D., D.Sc.,
and Eric J. Hall, D.Phil., D.Sc., discussed the growth
in the use of computed tomography (CT) and the
increase in patient radiation exposure as a result.

Radiologists, medical physicists and other radiology
professionals have long recognized that there needs to
be conscientious implementation of CT practice and
have assumed a collective responsibility for
maintaining rigorous standards of practice.
Radiologists recognize their responsibility as
physicians to provide appropriate imaging algorithms
for CT and to make these as safe as possible by
minimizing dose without sacrificing diagnostic
ability. They are directly involved in the development
of technologies and protocols to ensure patient safety
in medical imaging scenarios. Radiologic scientists
are working closely with manufacturers to lower
radiation doses to patients without losing imaging

The NEJM article has elicited media and public
attention to a topic that many radiology professionals
believe should be at the forefront. It is important
that one of the salient points from the authors is not
overlooked, that "from an individual standpoint, when
a CT scan is justified by medical need, the associated
risk is small relative to the diagnostic information
obtained."  There is overwhelming agreement in the
radiology community that there is risk with CT, but
that the potential benefits far outweigh this small

Several radiology organizations made up of
radiologists, medical physicists, radiologic
technologists and other related societies including
RSNA, are working toward a primary objective to ensure
that all patients’ CT scans are safe and of high
quality. These groups, as a collective, are currently
working on mandates to assure high quality care of all
patients in relation to CT. 

Some of the key points that these groups are in
general agreement about include:

CT helps save lives – in many cases it is the imaging
exam to use to provide the best possible care to a

CT should only be used when needed, when other exams
would not provide the same level of diagnostic

CT scans should be tailored to the individual.
Protocols should be supervised by a radiologist. 
The radiation dose in every CT scan should be as low
as possible, without sacrificing diagnostic quality. 

Appropriate equipment should be used. The latest CT
technology can adjust techniques during a patient’s
exam to reduce radiation dose. Modern scanners
frequently use doses smaller than those cited in the
article. Smaller doses reduce the risks. 

Practices using CT scanners should have a quality
control program to ensure appropriate image quality
and dose. 

Radiologists, highly trained in medical imaging
technology and interpretation, should be consultants
to referring physicians regarding the most appropriate
exam for particular patients. 

When possible, patients should be informed about their
imaging options and know the benefits versus risk

The American College of Radiology (ACR) produces the
ACR Appropriateness Criteria, evidence-based
guidelines to assist referring physicians and other
providers in making the most appropriate imaging or
treatment decision. 

CT scans should be performed at medical imaging
facilities that have CT expertise, including ACR
accreditation, or those facilities that have expertise
with CT scanning in children, if applicable. 

Screening CT should only be undertaken following
discussion with a physician. 

Discussion and action to improve the safety of CT
scanning will continue and should include groups with
a shared interest in patient care and safety,
including medical professionals in radiology such as
radiologists, medical physicists and radiology
technologists, as well as other specialties,
manufacturers, patients and healthcare regulators such
as the FDA.

# # #

RSNA is an association of more than 41,000
radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical
physicists and related scientists committed to
excellence in patient care through education and
research. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Ill.

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." -- Sir Winston Churchill

-- John
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail:  crispy_bird at yahoo.com

Be a better sports nut!  Let your teams follow you 
with Yahoo Mobile. Try it now.  http://mobile.yahoo.com/sports;_ylt=At9_qDKvtAbMuh1G1SQtBI7ntAcJ

More information about the RadSafe mailing list