News | April 12, 2007

Innovations in Imaging Reduce Dose 20-75 Percent

April 12, 2007 - The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of NEMA, today released a report entitled "How Innovations in Medical Imaging Have Reduced Radiation Dosage," that indicates that innovations in imaging technologies lead to reductions of 20-75 percent in radiation dose for many imaging procedures.
The ability of medical imaging to provide physicians with this new information and new vision inside the human body has created dramatic improvements in the quality and length of lives. For example, CT has all but eliminated the practice of exploratory surgery with its associated invasive risks and lengthy recovery periods. These improvements have been widely documented in peer-reviewed medical journals, embodied in practice guidelines of medical specialty societies, and underscored by public and private regulatory agencies responsible for quality medical care.
Based upon an evaluation of the peer-reviewed literature that details the improvements brought about by such technologies as computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine and X-ray radiography, it is reasonable to conclude that millions of lives have been saved and millions more dramatically improved as a result of these imaging technologies.

At the same time, this savings in lives and improvement in health outcomes occur--in the case of CT, X-ray, and nuclear medicine technology--as a result of the use of radiation. None of the health improvements that come from these technologies would be possible without radiation. The radiation exposure from such technologies for individual patients is in the low-range. Although the small potential risk of cancer from such levels of radiation is generally recognized, scientific studies have never conclusively linked the occurrence of cancer with the use of medical imaging technologies.

Manufacturers of medical imaging technology have introduced new product and system innovations during the past 20 years that have reduced radiation dose for many imaging procedures by 20-75 percent while preserving the ability of imaging technologies to aid physicians in diagnosing and treating disease. These dose reductions have been achieved through innovations in product operation and design, software applications, operating practices, and procedure algorithms. Among the reductions:

-"Pulsed" rather than continuous x-rays in minimally invasive surgical procedures reduce patient dose by 50-75 percent.
-Automated exposure controls that match the dose to body size and thickness reduce dose from 10-30 percent for routine CT examinations and, up to 50 percent for CT cardiac examinations.
-Reduced technique pediatric protocols that are based upon patient age and weight have reduced CT dose to pediatric patients significantly. Dose reductions of up to 80% for infants and 50 percent for small children are common with these pediatric protocols.

The full report is available at MITA's website, www.medicalimaging.org.

MITA an association of medical imaging and radiation therapy systems manufacturers and is a division of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

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