10.04.2010

Doctors Urged to Minimize CT Scans in Children

A CT scan can mean the difference between an accurate and a wrong diagnosis, timely and delayed treatment and, in some cases, life and death. But because CT scans and other tests that use X-ray technology expose the body to often large doses of radiation, their unnecessary, repeated and excessive use may increase cancer risk, especially in children.

Radiologists from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and elsewhere are sounding the alarm and urging judicious use of radiation-based imaging in children. Some 7 million CT scans are performed in children every year in the United States, many of them avoidable, the doctors say.

“CT scans save lives and have revolutionized medical diagnostics, but as physicians, we should remind ourselves that every CT scan we order now stays with a child for a lifetime,” said pediatric radiologist Melissa Spevak, M.D., during a recent presentation at Hopkins, the first of several she is giving to help educate fellow physicians, nurses and radiology technicians about ways to reduce radiation exposure in children. Her efforts are inspired by the “Image Gently” campaign of the Society for Pediatric Radiology and the Alliance for Safety in Pediatric Imaging.

Not only are children’s growing tissues and rapidly dividing cells more vulnerable to the effects of radiation, but exposure to radiation at an earlier age gives cancerous mutations that much more time to develop into full-blown disease, Spevak says. And because of the difference in body size, a single CT scan can deliver a much higher dose of radiation to a child than to an adult.

source: Johns Hopkins Cgildrens Center

1 comment:

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