X-Ray Risks to Your Child: FDA says take extra care with CT scans

baby at doctorby James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

The FDA has joined with other organizations to remind us about the increased risks of medical radiation on children. The Image Gently campaign cautions the public and health-care professionals to be careful when giving kids CT (CAT) scans.

CT scans can be lifesaving diagnostic tools and experts don’t think the radiation dosage significantly increases cancer risk. However, it can accumulate in the body over time. They believe children are more sensitive to this because they usually have a longer lifetime ahead of them for accumulation. Also , their cells divide more rapidly so DNA has more of a change for damage.

A CT scan delivers about 50 to 100 times more radiation than a chest X-ray. The dosage can vary by as much as a factor of 10. The Image Gently campaign simply wants everyone involved to take simple precautions. Make sure the CT is needed and that steps are taken for as little radiation exposure as possible. From my experience in Colorado Springs the majority of the physicians are on top of this already.

The FDA also recommends the following.

  • Be your child’s advocate. Learn about ways health care professionals can lower and limit radiation dose in the CT imaging of children without compromising diagnostic quality. Ask questions.
  • Be sure that the imaging facility is using appropriate reduced radiation techniques. You may not know unless you ask, and it is reasonable and within your rights to do so.
  • Check credentials. Ask whether the facility has American College of Radiology accreditation, whether the CT technologists have the proper credentials, and if the person interpreting the studies is a board-certified radiologist or pediatric radiologist.

Any questions?

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One Response to “X-Ray Risks to Your Child: FDA says take extra care with CT scans”

  1. Mark Salinas Says:

    I remember as a child my mother had concerns about radiation at the dentist office. I haven’t heard anything recently so probably like many others I have taken for granted the notion that technology and/or protective gear had evolved enough, not to be concerned about radiation. Apparently not! Thank you for the post, another eye opener.

    Mark Salinass last blog post..TRX Bands

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