What can I do? - Medical Physicists
Radiologists Technologists Parents
"Child-size” the radiation delivered to pediatric patients
Children are more sensitive to radiation and have a lifetime to manifest the effects of exposure. Currently, medical imaging (with CT scans as the largest contributor) may exceed background radiation as the single largest source of radiation for the American population (NCRP, April 2007). A 2005 report from the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) Committee of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that “the risk of cancer proceeds in a linear fashion at lower doses without a threshold and that clinical CT doses result in a potential small increased risk to humans.”
That being noted, radiology and CT scanning are critically important tools for diagnosing illnesses in children, determining treatment, and improving outcomes. Still, it is both logical and prudent to implement policies and techniques for reducing radiation dose when performing CT on children. Every member of the healthcare team should ensure that whenever an imaging study is prescribed for a child, it is completed only after careful consideration on an individual basis.
Medical physicists are responsible for maintaining imaging equipment in proper working order, for maintaining or improving image quality and for carefully managing patient dose by advising healthcare providers on appropriate techniques. As the imaging centers’ experts on radiation issues, they can provide invaluable guidance on how to “child-size” everyday protocols for radiologists and radiologic technologists who are often more accustomed to practicing in an adult environment. The knowledge and experience provided by medical physicists is vital to ensuring that young patients are imaged using radiation as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). This website provides simple educational resources to inform radiology practices on what can be done now to improve radiation protection for children. By logging in, you have already demonstrated your commitment to this important initiative Keith Strauss, MS
Medical Physicist - Childrens Hospital of Boston
Here are 5 simple steps to improve patient care in your everyday practice:
Increase awareness for the need to decrease radiation dose to children during CT scanning.
Be committed to make a change in your imaging center's daily practice by working as a team with its radiologists, technologists, referring doctors and parents to decrease the radiation dose. Sign the pledge! Click on the link on the home page to join the image gently™ campaign today.
Review your imaging center’s adult CT protocols and then use the simple CT Protocols Guide on this website to “down-size” the protocols for kids as appropriate. More is not better….adult size kVp and mAs are not necessary for small bodies. Discuss your findings with your center’s CT radiologists and technologists.
Single phase scans are usually adequate. Pre- and post-contrast and delayed CT scans rarely add additional information in children yet can double or triple the dose! Consider removing multi-phase scans from your daily protocols.
Scan only the indicated area. If a patient has a possible dermoid on ultrasound, there is rarely a need to scan the entire abdomen and pelvis. “Child-size” the scan and only scan the area required to obtain the necessary information.
Your patients and their families will thank you!
AAPM releases CT Terminology Lexicon
The American Association of Physicists in Medicine has released a CT Terminology Lexicon. This provides CT acquisition and reconstruction terms between different manufacturer's systems. Please use the following link to access this remarkable tool. Access the CT Terminology Lexicon
Image Gently Pause and Pulse campaign voted #1 by Aunt MinnieThe Pause and Pulse campaign led by Dr. Marta Hernanz-Schulman was recognized as the #1 Most Effective Philanthropy Program or Campaign by Aunt Minnie. Click here to read all about it! Click here to read all about it!