Huge Increase In Radiation Exposure From Diagnostic Imaging
As imaging technology advances and medical devices improve, healthcare professionals are more inclined to use these state-of-the art scanners to look inside patients’ bodies. Computed tomography usage, for example, more than tripled between 1996 and 2010. Over the same period, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) usage increased fourfold. It is not surprising, therefore, that patient radiation exposure has also risen.
An article in JAMA, published today, asks the question to see if this technological dependance is going too far or even putting patients in danger with too many scans. Some people are worried about raditation from mobile phones, so stepping inside a multi-million dollar machine that blasts the body with one type of electromagnetic resonance or another, is going to draw warranted safety questions…
..One of the main points made in the article is that there has never been a comprehensive study of how much use healthcare providers are making of imaging technology. The studies that have been done are usually based around private practices and done for insurance purposes, and in these cases, imaging is usually encouraged. Looking at a wider range of patients and facilities enables the authors to provide us with a clear picture.
The authors summarize the use of various imaging techniques:
- Radiography and angiography/fluoroscopy rates were relatively stable over time: radiography increased 1.2 percent per year, and angiography/fluoroscopy decreased 1.3 percent per year.
- Computed tomography examinations tripled (52/1000 enrollees in 1996 to 149/1000 in 2010, 7.8 percent annual growth)
- MRIs quadrupled (17/1000 to 65/1000,10 percent annual growth)…
…while healthcare has obviously improved with the use of technology, given the high costs of imaging, some $100 Billion annually, combined with the cancer risks and other possible side effects, the benefits of sending patients for scans, should be balanced by weighing the medical needs against both financial and heath risks of the technology itself.
Choosing Wisely (US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
Choosing Wisely™ aims to get physicians, patients and other health care stakeholders thinking and talking about the overuse or misuse of medical tests and procedures that provide little benefit, and in some instances harm.
Includes tips,scenarios, and information to get the most out of doctor visits.
- Huge Increase In Radiation Exposure From Diagnostic Imaging (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Substantial increase in rate of advanced diagnostic imaging, associated radiation exposure (eurekalert.org)
- Diagnosing Disease (nlm.nih.gov)
- Locally, precautions taken to reduce radiation risk (jacksonville.com)
- Patients’ radiation levels boosted by increased medical scans – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
- Huge Rise in CT, MRI, Ultrasound Scan Use (nlm.nih.gov)
- Greater use of imaging tests raises radiation fears (sfgate.com)
- MRI and CT scan use spikes, study finds (vitals.msnbc.msn.com)
- MITA Statement On JAMA Article On Imaging Utilization Trends (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Locally, precaustions taken to reduce radiation risk (jacksonville.com)
- Imaging, Radiation Exposure Up, Even At HMOs (huffingtonpost.com)
- CT scans warning after study claims too many could lead to brain cancer (guardian.co.uk)
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