Are radiation doses from CT procedures safe?

December 15, 2009
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Findings from a study conducted by imaging specialists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) show that radiation doses from common CT procedures vary widely and are higher than generally thought, raising concerns about an increased risk for cancer. The researchers advocate documenting the actual doses patients are exposed to and call for greater standardization. Procedures performed on 1,119 patients at four San Francisco Bay Area institutions over 5 months were examined; procedures were evaluated in three anatomic areas: head and neck, chest, and abdomen and pelvis. Results showed that doses were in general higher than typically reported and that there was a mean 13-fold variation between the highest and lowest radiation dose for each type of CT procedure. Study findings appear in the December 14, 2009, issue ofArchives of Internal Medicine, and more information can be found at
www.ucsf.edu.