Regulation to Reduce CT Scan Risk?

A recent study at UCSF finds powerful CT scanners used for high-end imaging may also pose radiation risks.  According to Rebecca Smith-Bindman, MD, who led the study, “the doses from CT are higher than commonly known.” A recent ABC news feature discusses how best to limit CT scan risks as the use of the technology grows.

Smith-Bindman’s study followed the radiation exposure of more than 1,000 patients receiving the most common CT diagnostic tests and discovered that doses given varied widely depending on protocols and technicians. Smith-Bindman found evidence of doses approaching levels linked to radiation poisoning and similar to those found in Cedars-Sinai Medical Hospital last fall that prompted new regulations in California to protect patients.

But is regulation the answer? With added costs for reporting and technician training, some feel there are other ways to tackle the issue, including improvements in scanner technology.

Even with these technology advances, Smith-Bindman feels the widespread use of CT scans and the risks associated with them justifies the regulations to help improve safety.