Associations call for nuclear cardiology field to optimize radiation dose

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | November 21, 2016
Molecular Imaging Risk Management
Adherence to guidelines varies
New research reveals that the nuclear imaging field fails to consistently adhere to clinical guidelines to reduce patient radiation exposure, and many associations aren't happy about it.

The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission's Nuclear/PET accreditation division and the Society of Nuclear Medicine in Molecular Imaging are mandating that radiation dose be optimized for nuclear cardiology studies.

ASNC published guidelines for myocardial perfusion SPECT imaging in February 2016 and it listed recommendations on radiopharmaceutical activities and the appropriate radiation doses.
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The dose reduction strategies included weight-based radiotracer dosing, thoughtfully selecting the radiotracers, performing stress-only imaging when appropriate, software innovations, purchasing advanced SPECT systems and using PET for myocardial perfusion imaging.

Two recently published studies found that these the implementation of these guidelines varies. That means that some patients who undergo myocardial perfusion exams are receiving higher radiation doses than necessary.

IAC published revised guidelines for facilities seeking nuclear cardiology accreditation. It reinforces the required administered dose ranges as recommended by the 2016 ASNC guidelines.

The IAC Nuclear/PET Board of Directors has decided to mandate specific dose ranges for myocardial perfusion imaging studies while also striving to maintain image quality.

"Working together, we can more effectively ensure that health care providers meet accreditation requirements and follow dose guidelines for nuclear cardiology," Sally W. Schwarz, president of SNMMI, said in a statement. "The goal is to keep radiation exposure as low as is reasonable."

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