News | August 27, 2008

Radiologists to Standardize Pediatric Dose from CT Scans

August 28, 2008 - Radiologists, medical physicists and radiologic technologists agreed to work with the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging to set standards in radiation dose estimates, establishing methods to measure and report pediatric dose from CT scans.

Representatives from leading medical imaging equipment manufacturers met on August 20, 2008, with radiologist, medical physicist and radiologic technologist representatives from the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging and agreed to work with the Alliance to create standardized radiation dose estimates as well as vendor sponsored technologist education opportunities.

The meeting was sponsored by the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, a coalition of 29 organizations dedicated to reducing radiation dose estimates that children receive from medical imaging examinations. The Alliance launched its Image Gently™ campaign in January 2008 to raise awareness of opportunities to reduce radiation dose estimates used in pediatric imaging.

“This is an example of how all stakeholders in the medical imaging community can and must work together for the good of our pediatric patients and our profession. This summit and our subsequent agreement to work together, represents a major step forward in ensuring that medical protocols keep pace with rapidly advancing technology and are properly displayed on our CT equipment” said Marilyn Goske, M.D., chair of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, past president of the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR), and Silverman Chair for Radiology Education, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

“This agreement is a fundamental change in responsibility and accountability for the dose estimates that our children – and actually adults, too – receive during CT examinations,” said Donald Frush, M.D., chair of the American College of Radiology Pediatric Imaging Commission.

Currently, dose capture and reporting systems can vary depending on the manufacturer, making comparisons difficult. Also, dose estimates for CT scans can underestimate the radiation dose utilized in pediatric imaging because these estimates are often developed using adult phantoms.

“Children are three to five times more sensitive to radiation than adults, yet dose estimates are made using adult-sized phantoms,” said Keith Strauss, M.Sc., of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and director of Radiology Physics and Engineering at Children’s Hospital Boston. “Models need to be developed specifically for estimating dose to children undergoing CT exams utilizing phantoms that more appropriately take into consideration the size, shape and composition of children’s anatomies.”

Presenters at the meeting included representatives from Alliance organizations as well as from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and MITA. Medical imaging vendors represented at the meeting were GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, Siemens Medical Systems and Toshiba America Medical Systems.

For more information: www.imagegently.org

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