Imaging practice cuts patient radiation exposure up to 90%

Tools

A medical imaging facility in California has implemented a dose reduction program that cuts radiation exposure in some patients by up to 90 percent.

An article in the November issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology provides details about the program, implemented by San-Diego based Imaging Healthcare Specialists. According to lead author John Johnson, M.D., the practice's primary focus was to reduce dose for CT chest, abdomen and pelvis exams, since those were exams performed most frequently and had the highest radiation dose.

Johnson said that after completing a CT dose adjustment and imaging analysis, the practice implemented several dose reduction strategies, including redesigning protocols and adjusting CT radiation dose based on each patient's body mass index; limiting length of coverage; using iterative reconstruction and noise reduction software; and limiting double scans and multiphase examinations.

"To implement such a program requires dedication, leadership and commitment. Key components include a lead CT physician, a lead CT technologist, a CT applications specialist, a continuous feedback loop and systems in place to educate staff members and audit compliance," Johnson said in an announcement. "It is possible to perform high-quality CT at a fraction of the radiation dose previously thought possible. Using a combination of dose reduction strategies with or without iterative reconstruction, risks can be minimized, thereby ensuring the health and welfare of our patients."

According to an article in the June 2012 issue of Imaging Economics, Imaging Healthcare Specialists began the push for a serious dose reduction program in the aftermath of the CT radiation overdosing that occurred at Los Angeles Cedars Sinai and other hospitals in 2009.

"We've always been conservative," Imaging Healthcare Specialists CEO Jon Robins, M.D., told Imaging Economics. "But this heightened our concerns and we made a conscious decision to reduce dose."

The practice now reports it has been able to reduce radiation dose in CT scans between 50 and 90 percent.

For more:
- see the article in JACR
- read the announcement
- read the article in Imaging Economics

Related Articles:
3-D dose reduction technique improves image quality of low-dose CT scans
Researchers believe video graphics cards can reduce CT radiation exposure