Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant

Greg Freiherr has reported on developments in radiology since 1983. He runs the consulting service, The Freiherr Group.

Blog | Greg Freiherr, Industry Consultant | February 26, 2014

Radiation: Out of Sight, Too Often Out of Mind

More than a decade has passed since I volunteered to ride a patient table into the maw of a Siemens’ CT. Then as now, I saw myself as a “doer,” not a “watcher,” experiencing as much as possible what I would write about.

A few years before my trip to Erlangen, Germany, that vision had put me in a SCAPE suit ( at the Kennedy Space Center. A few years later, it had me in a Signa 1.5T at GE. But, in 2004, the dashing figure of a 21st century journalist was not what the docs at the University of Erlangen saw. No. They saw someone who did not comprehend the hazard to which he was volunteering to be exposed. 

I had been writing about radiology since 1984. I should have known better, but did not. Unfortunately, the same could be said for much of this country, including the medical community. America has been riding the crest of ionizing radiation for much of the last three decades.

As a nation, our annual exposure to medical radiation nearly doubled between 1980 and 2008. CT alone accounted for 24 percent of all medical radiation exposure in the United States, according to a report issued in March 2009 by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

Europe, that bastion of caution, may be better off. But it is far from where its medical leaders would like to be. While skimming abstracts for the upcoming European Congress of Radiology, I found that CT contributes 57 percent of Europeans’ exposure to medical ionizing radiation, according to a recent study of radiodiagnostic procedures in 36 European countries (“DDM2 Project Report on European Population Dose  Estimation,”

Aiming to do something about it, the European Society of Radiology (ESR) will launch a new initiative at ECR 2014, EuroSafe Imaging. Its global agendum is to promote the safe and appropriate use of medical imaging around the world.

ESR will cite the varied efforts that have sprung up, including the Image Gently campaign (by the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Image Imaging) and Image Wisely campaign (by the American College of Radiology, RSNA, American Association of Physicists in Medicine and American Society of Radiologic Technologists).

Heightened awareness is the key to future progress, they say. The Europeans have a step or two on us, as the Erlangen docs demonstrated a dozen years ago when they turned down my ill-considered offer.

It’s been a long time coming but here it is, ladies and gentlemen. Finally … Thanks.

Related Content

Toshiba Highlights Latest CT Advancements at RSNA 2017
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | September 18, 2017
Toshiba Medical announced that it will display several new enhancements to its existing computed tomography (CT)...
Hitachi Supria True64 CT Receives FDA Clearance
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT) | September 15, 2017
September 15, 2017 — Hitachi Healthcare Americas Inc. announced it has attained U.S.
Matrix Analytics Beginning Validation of Deep Learning Lung CT Tools
News | Lung Cancer | September 13, 2017
Matrix Analytics announced it will clinically validate its LungDirect deep learning and predictive analytics tools for...
Orange County, Calif. Hospital Adopts Siemens Somatom Force CT for Cardiac Imaging
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | September 12, 2017
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian recently became the first hospital in Orange County, Calif., to install the Siemens...
Patient X-ray radiation exposure from medical imaging has been a hot topic in radiology and has prompted the implementation of radiation dose monitoring systems.
Feature | Radiation Dose Management | September 08, 2017 | By Dave Fornell
Patient X-ray radiation exposure from medical imaging has been a hot topic in radiology and has prompted the...
Technology | Radiation Dose Management | September 07, 2017
September 7, 2017 — Sapheneia and Scannerside received U.S.
20/20 GeneSystems Launches AI-Based Lung Cancer Detection Technology in China
Technology | Lung Cancer | August 28, 2017
20/20 GeneSystems Inc. recently released in China what is believed to be the world’s first machine learning algorithm...
Philips to Develop FFR-CT in Partnership With HeartFlow
News | CT Angiography (CTA) | August 28, 2017
August 28, 2017 — Philips Healthcare and HeartFlow Inc.
Sponsored Content | Videos | Nuclear Imaging | August 24, 2017
Prem Soman, M.D., director of nuclear cardiology at the Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh, and p
Overlay Init