News | December 06, 2010

Expert Panel Addresses Safety in Medical Imaging

December 6, 2010 – A panel of medical imaging experts discussed medical imaging appropriateness, ionizing radiation and efforts to curb overutilization, decrease radiation dose and educate patients.

Panel members included James A. Brink, M.D., professor and chairman of the department of diagnostic radiology at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and co-chairman of the joint Adult Radiation Protection Task Force; William R. Hendee, Ph.D., professor of radiology, radiation oncology, biophysics and bioethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee; and Christoph Wald, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice-chairman of the department of radiology at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass., and associate professor of radiology at Tufts University Medical School in Boston.

The panel was moderated by Mary C. Mahoney, M.D., professor of radiology and director of breast imaging at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and chair of the RSNA Public Information Committee.

“Medical imaging examinations are an invaluable, but complex, set of tools in the diagnosis and treatment of patients,” Mahoney said. “With this panel, we hope to address recent concerns about imaging, clear up some misconceptions regarding risk, and inform the public about what's being done to ensure their safety when undergoing medical imaging exams.”

The growth in medical imaging over the past two decades has yielded important and life-saving benefits to patients. It has allowed millions to avoid more invasive diagnostic and treatment procedures. However, overutilization can be detrimental to patients by exposing them to unnecessary radiation. Between 1980 and 2006, the annual U.S. population radiation dose from medical procedures increased seven-fold, according to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

“Imaging procedures conducted for the wrong reasons contribute to unnecessary costs and radiation exposure to patients,” Hendee said. “Radiology is working to reduce unnecessary procedures, but some of the causes of overutilization are beyond radiology’s influence.”

Recent reports have drawn attention to the ionizing radiation associated with some imaging procedures, most notably computed tomography (CT). There is general agreement in the radiology community that certain procedures are associated with risks, which must be weighed against the benefit of the diagnostic information or treatment result. Radiologists and medical physicists continue to work together to lower radiation dose without sacrificing diagnostic quality. Efforts are also underway to better monitor patients’ cumulative radiation exposure from multiple imaging exams over time.

To increase awareness of cumulative radiation dose and other radiation risks and to explore opportunities to improve patient safety through appropriate utilization, quality assurance and dose optimization, RSNA has partnered with the American College of Radiology (ACR), the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) to launch the Image Wisely initiative. The goal is to increase awareness of cumulative radiation dose and other radiation risks and to explore opportunities to improve patient safety.

“Rising concerns about the radiation dose associated with medical imaging have prompted vigorous responses at many levels, but perhaps the most important response has been expanded educational activities focused on radiation dose monitoring and control,” Brink said. “Imaging professionals must pledge to reduce the radiation dose as much as reasonably achievable, to seek accreditation of imaging facilities with careful attention to radiation dose monitoring and control, and to participate in dose registries that will allow imaging practitioners to benchmark their dose levels with peer institutions.”

ImageWisely.org, directed at physicians and other medical professionals, was officially launched at RSNA 2010. The web site’s patient-directed content answers common patient questions about risks and benefits of medical imaging procedures.

“These web sites strive to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date information about radiation safety from expert sources to help patients and their physicians make informed decisions when considering the use of powerful imaging tests which can potentially save lives, help determine whether a therapy is working or avoid an unnecessary surgery,” Wald said.

For more information: www.radiologyinfo.org

Related Content

3-D Reconstruction of Ichthyosaurus Skull

A 3-D reconstruction of the ichthyosaurus skull from a computed tomography (CT) scan. Image courtesy of Nigel Larkin, taken at Royal Veterinary College, London.

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | January 09, 2019
A nearly meter-long skull of a giant fossil marine ichthyosaur found in a farmer's field more than 60 years ago has...
SCCT Releases New Guideline for CT Use During TAVR
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | January 08, 2019
The Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT) has released a new expert consensus document for computed...
Artificial Intelligence Pinpoints Nine Different Abnormalities in Head Scans

A brain scan (left) showing an intraparenchymal hemorrhage in left frontal region and a scan (right) of a subarachnoid hemorrhage in the left parietal region. Both conditions were accurately detected by the Qure.ai tool. Image courtesy of Nature Medicine.

News | Artificial Intelligence | January 07, 2019
The rise in the use of computed tomography (CT) scans in U.S. emergency rooms has been a well-documented trend1 in...
CT Technique Expands Possibilities of Imaging Ancient Remains
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | December 27, 2018
Researchers in Sweden using computed tomography (CT) have successfully imaged the soft tissue of an ancient Egyptian...
Canon Aquilion One CT Helps Gates Vascular Institute Adhere to New Stroke Guidelines
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | December 12, 2018
In stroke, time saved on imaging is time gained in the treatment window. The recently updated guidelines from the...
Coreline Soft Introduces AI Lung Segmentation Solution at RSNA 2018
News | Lung Cancer | December 10, 2018
December 10, 2018 — Korean image software company Coreline Soft Co. Ltd.
FDA Approves New Features for Planmed Verity Cone Beam CT Scanner
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT) | December 07, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an approval letter for the new features and intended uses of the...
YITU Releases AI-Based Cancer Screening Solutions at RSNA 2018
News | Artificial Intelligence | December 06, 2018
Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) healthcare company YITU healthcare released two brand-new products, Intelligent...
Guerbet Launches Multi-Use OptiVantage Contrast Media Injector in Europe
Technology | Contrast Media Injectors | December 05, 2018
Contrast agent company Guerbet recently announced that the OptiVantage multi-use contrast media injector is now CE...
GE Healthcare Unveils New Applications and Smart Devices Built on Edison Platform
Technology | Artificial Intelligence | December 05, 2018
GE Healthcare recently announced new applications and smart devices built on Edison – a platform that helps accelerate...