YouTube will educate
the public and physicians
about the risks of
exposure to CT-generated
ionizing radiation

YouTube to Educate Public and Physicians About Exposure to CT-Generated Ionizing Radiation

June 10, 2009
by Joan Trombetti, Writer
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has published an online video interview with Dr. Aaron D. Sodickson, assistant director of emergency radiology at Brigham and Women's. Dr. Sodickson discusses the hospital's plan to develop an automated decision-support tool to help physicians weigh the risks and benefits of CT when ordering a procedure. Meanwhile, the IAEA supports a plan to use electronic medical records kept on smart cards to track the accumulation of radiation exposure from diagnostic imaging and therapy over time for each health care consumer.

Watch the video:

The video also acknowledges diagnostic imaging's contributions to medical science. At the same time, it warns about over utilization of high-tech procedures like CT scanning and how it could be unnecessarily exposing patients to increased doses of ionizing radiation, comparing the average CT scan dose with approximately 500 chest X-rays. The video also states that such a dose could increase a patient's lifetime risk of developing cancer, if they are continuously exposed to further tests. There is also a short interview with a radiologist underscoring the concern among imagers about unprecedented growth in volume of procedures involving more and more younger patients.

The agency stresses that its goal is not to scare people, but to cut down unnecessary radiation exposure. IAEA radiation safety specialist Dr. Madan Rehani said that new studies suggested that radiation dose reduction of up to 50% could be achieved, and that potential calls for action.

Renowned American College of Radiology Pediatric Commission chair and member of the Alliance for Radiation Safety, Dr. Donald P. Frush, stated that the increasing use of electronic medical records enables the use of smart cards to track imaging procedures and their related radiation doses. Dr. Frush was also featured in the video, which also suggests that new imaging technologies should be able to automatically include the radiation dose data from these procedures into the patient's individual record.