ImageWisely.org has launched a new initiative that will help radiology providers deliver quality patient care and optimize radiation dose and image quality during fluoroscopic procedures. The organization now offers online educational materials for fluoroscopy, computed tomography and nuclear medicine exams.
Lung cancer is often called a “silent killer,” and one-fourth of people with the disease show no symptoms when they are diagnosed. It’s often caught during chest X-rays or scans performed for other reasons. Last year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended annual CT scans for patients ages 55 to 74 with a smoking history equivalent to one pack a day for 30 years who still smoke or who have quit within 15 years.
According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers concluded that overuse of cardiac stress testing with images has led to rising healthcare costs and unnecessary exposure to radiation. Cardiac stress testing with imaging has been the focus of debate in regards to rising healthcare costs and patient safety, and this report is believed to be the first comprehensive study of cardiac stress testing with imaging.
Thirty percent of nearly 40,000 women who will die from breast cancer in the next year could have been helped if they had received regular mammograms starting at age 40. A public service campaign called Mammography Saves Lives is encouraging women to find an accredited mammography center near them for regular screenings. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 300,000 new cases of breast cancer will are diagnosed each year.
According the the American Heart Association, exposure to radiation of the heart should be discussed among referring and performing physicians in order to effectively counsel the patient on radiation risks and benefits so that the patient can truly give informed consent.
According to a clinical study conducted at 15 medical centers, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, CT scans are no better than the less-often-used utltrasound exams when diagnosing kidney stones. Unlike ultrasound, CT exposes patients to significant amounts of radiation. While CT is a preferred choice in the emergency room, the ultrasound is a better place to start the initial diagnostic imaging test.
It can be hard to know when a headache should prompt medical evaluation. Rules have been developed helping medical professionals determine when imaging will be most beneficial. if a headache has other symptoms associated with it (such as nausea or vomiting) or is new, significantly worse or comes on suddenly, medical evaluation is warranted and imaging may be needed.
Pelvic x-rays for children who have suffered blunt force trauma are do not accurately identify all cases of pelvic fractures or dislocations. A study published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine casts doubt on a practice that has been recommended by the Advanced Trauma Life Support Program (ATLS). “Because of concerns about lifetime exposure to radiation in children, appropriate use of radiography is important. We just could not find enough accuracy or utility to justify the pelvic x-ray for most of these children,” said lead study author Maria Kwok, MD, MPH, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York, N.Y.
The Mayo Clinic is leading a collaborative effort to ensure a national protocol is put into action to ensure that children receive the right exam, ordered the right way with the right radiation dose. A commentary, published online in the Journal of Patient Safety, calls for the American College of Radiology, the Joint Commission, the Intersociety Accreditation Commission, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to require three safety practices for accreditation of all American hospitals and advanced diagnostic imaging facilities.
Findings from a new study by the research team at UCLA indicates a need to educate patients on the amount of radiation they are exposed to during a single screening mammogram. Misinformation and misunderstanding about the risks associated with ionizing radiation creates a heightened concern and fear among patients, and may result in avoidance of screening that can detect early cancers.