How Are You Reducing Radiation?

By Pete MacKay

Pet MacKay photoA few years back the FDA launched an initiative aimed at reducing radiation exposure in patients undergoing CT scans.  Clearly there are concerns with exposing the human body to ionizing radiation, and due to the prevalence and popularity of these imaging techniques the FDA feels they are in a position to ensure proactive steps are taken to minimize exposure.  They cite studies done in 2009 showing this total exposure to have nearly doubled in two decades in the US population.

Several factors come into play with cause and effect here, and the FDA is exploring several different perspectives.  Preventative measures start with educating patients, clinicians, and technicians, and altering approaches to therapy planning and the decision process around imaging studies.  The emergence of highly connected health enterprises (and society in general) enables a proposal to track cumulative dosage using tools like a national dosage registry and a patient medical imaging record – who knows, maybe just like Fido runs around with a chip in his neck we might all someday be implanted with a dosimeter along with our medical record?  Kidding aside, the obvious place to start with dosage reduction is with the device manufacturers themselves.

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