Around 50 experts from 26 countries and nine international organisations and professional and industrial bodies met at the IAEA in Vienna from 4 to 6 March to study the problem of the patients who need frequent radiological imaging exams for diagnosing and monitoring their diseases.
New data on exposure is known thanks to the introduction of automatic exposure tracking systems in in recent years. New data based on 2.5 million patients in 15 countries showed that more than 1% of patients receive cumulative doses above 100 mSv from multiple exams in their lifetime. This is significantly higher than previously thought. Receiving radiation in significant doses increases the risk of cancer later in life.
Medical imaging like CT, X-rays and interventional procedures provide immense medical benefits to better manage health conditions of millions of patients. However, a patient can get exposed to 100 mSv from 10-12 CT exams, which is required in different chronic conditions or malignant diseases or when treatment requires frequent follow-up examinations. Experts proposed measures to ensure medical benefits always exceed risks for these patients.
Experts at the meeting agreed to several recommendations to improve protection of patients who need frequent imaging exams:
- CT scanners capable of achieving adequate image quality at sub-mSv radiation dose.
- Physicians need to ensure the appropriate use of imaging exams when dealing with diseases that require frequent tests.
- Strengthen guidelines by professional medical bodies for those treating patients who require frequent imaging studies.
- Integrated technological solutions for monitoring patient exposure data within the electronic healthcare records.
- Concrete radiation protection recommendations on how to avoid high level of exposures without curtailing medical benefits.
News from IAEA Office of Public Information and Communication