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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    Hospitals, DR., patients try to cut radiation from CT scans

    Hospitals, doctors, patients try to cut radiation from CT scans

    Posted 24m ago
    By Patricia Anstett, Detroit Free Press

    DEARBORN, Mich. — National attention over patients receiving potentially harmful doses of radiation from CT scans and other medical imaging tests has led some hospitals to take more measures to reduce radiation exposure, particularly for those facing repeat scans.

    To safeguard patients, many are designing new guidelines as well as purchasing new scanners that lower radiation doses.

    Oakwood Hospital here has spent nearly $4 million this year on new CT machines and upgrades.

    A project at 15 Michigan hospitals last year successfully lowered radiation doses in heart and blood vessel scans without sacrificing image quality. It was accomplished with measures such as limiting areas of a body exposed to radiation and adjusting doses for a person's weight.

    Later this month, a new national campaign called Image Wisely will focus attention on the issue even further.

    If she can avoid it, Jill Sklar won't have another medical test that uses radiation.

    Sklar, 41, of Huntington Woods, Mich., has undergone 10 computerized tomography, or CT, scans in about 21 years to help treat Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder.

    But two years ago, she discovered that Crohn's patients, because of the frequent scans, receive as much as 11 times the exposure to radiation as healthy people.

    "I just assumed that what was being done was safe for me," she said. "That really raised the red flag."

    The Image Wisely campaign, to be launched next week at the annual conference of the Radiological Society of America, hopes to educate consumers about radiation in medical imaging tests and to encourage imaging centers to follow measures to reduce radiation. It also hopes to encourage more use of nonradiating tests whenever possible, such as MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound.

    A companion effort, Image Gently, introduced in 2009, set similar standards and created consumer resources for parents of pediatric patients.

    Many medical tests, including CT and nuclear medicine scans, use radiation to get a better image to find kidney stones, determine artery and valve blockages and pinpoint areas of the brain affected by strokes and head injuries, among many other uses. A single test is considered safe when correct doses are delivered.

    Use of tests that use radiation has soared in the past few decades and cut the need for exploratory surgery.

    But there are trade-offs. Errors by operators of the machines, repeat tests and too many scans in a lifetime can raise a person's risk of cancer, potentially causing burns, hair loss and other problems.

    Earlier this year, The New York Times detailed serious operator-induced errors in imaging tests, including incidents involving a 2-year-old California boy who was accidentally scanned 151 times because the operator thought the machine was broken. In another case, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles acknowledged it accidentally administered as much as eight times the conventional dose of radiation to 206 possible stroke patients to obtain clearer images of their brains.

    The campaigns seek to get more older radiologists to enroll in certification programs to educate them about new measures to reduce radiation. Many physicians are exempt from annual certification requirements because they were grandfathered in when new standards were adopted in the past decade, said Dr. Ella Kazerooni, a University of Michigan professor of radiology.

    Citing studies that as many as one-third of all medical tests are unnecessary, Kazerooni said the best way to reduce radiation exposure is to avoid the tests when possible. She said reasons for unnecessary testing include a doctor's fear of being sued for not ordering a scan; pressure from patients to have the tests, and referrals by doctors to imaging centers in which they may have a financial interest.

    While some consumers are aware of the issue, many "aren't caught up to ask questions yet," said Dr. Souheil Saba, director of advanced CT imaging at St. John Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich. That's why professionals need to take the lead on the issue, he and others say.

    "When a patient is referred for testing, we always start with, 'How necessary is this test?' " Saba said. ... cans_N.htm

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Captainron's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    If the doctors did not order the high radiation tests, they could face lawsuits by hungry lawyers. That's what my doctors told me, after I received 9 CT scans at once for a traumatic injury. The docs said in a small town hospital that didn't have the equipment I probably wouldn't have received any. They would have just used knowledge, experience and judgment.
    "Men of low degree are vanity, Men of high degree are a lie. " David
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