Dayton Children’s takes extra precautions when imaging children
06-08-2012 (Dayton, OH) -
The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton is a strong advocate for safe and low dose radiation for children. A recent study released June 6, 2012 in the medical journal The Lancet indicated a potential risk of cancer from CT scans in children. The study shows one excess case of leukemia and one excess brain tumor per 10,000 children undergoing a CT examination in the first decade of life. The medical imaging experts at Dayton Children’s want to calm parents fears and ensure them that the benefits of CT scans for children greatly outweigh any possible risks.
“CT scans are absolutely required for a number of serious conditions, some of which are life threatening,” says Elizabeth Ey, MD, medical director of medical imaging at Dayton Children’s. “Everything we do in life has a risk. We have to carefully weigh the risk of the disease or condition against the tiny risk of inducing a cancer over a lifetime.”
When possible, Dayton Children’s will use non radiation producing imaging tools to assess a patient’s condition. However there are many times when a CT scan will give the best result. They allow radiologists and doctors to see inside the body in less than a minute and require no sedation. CT scans are the best option for a variety of conditions including:
- Evaluating serious head traumas
- Evaluating a sudden change of neurologic status
- Evaluating tumors or serious infections in the neck tissue that could press on the airway
- Evaluating intra-abdominal injuries, spine fractures or chest injuries
- Evaluating the response to treatment in children who already have cancer
- Looking at bone detail, especially tiny bones or fractures that are hard to define
- Looking at complex lung malformations or chronic lung disease
- Demonstrating the extent of appendicitis
“At Dayton Children’s we constantly seek to learn new and better ways to image children keeping their health and welfare above all else,” says Ey. “We consider each child and their condition individually in order to perform the most appropriate imaging study.”
The radiologists at Dayton Children’s are early adopters of the Image Gently pledge which promises to take certain steps to reduce the amount of radiation in patients. In order to ensure safe imaging of our patients Dayton Children’s:
- Requires all radiologists to be board-certified in pediatrics and have taken the Image Gently pledge
- Uses child-size radiation doses and follows American College of Radiology’s “Imaging Gently” guidelines
- Works together with a child’s physician to ensure the correct procedure to minimize radiation. We may suggest an alternate way to image the child first without radiation if possible.
- Scans only the indicated area
- Reviews each order before scanning and assigning a specific protocol for the scan
- Uses shielding when it does not interfere with the area that we are imaging
- Screens each order to determine if sedation is necessary to minimize the need for repeats due to motion
- Routinely reviews our CT dose techniques to be sure we are using the smallest amount of radiation possible
The staff of the medical imaging department of Dayton Children’s fully embraces the position stated by the Society for Pediatric Radiology. The society recommends that patients, parents and caregivers advocate for their children, following the recommendations of many organizations, including the Image Gently Alliance. Parents should keep a record of their child’s medical scans and ask doctors the following questions before having a medical imaging test performed on their child…
- What is the name of the test you would like to do on my child?
- Does the test involve ionizing radiation?
- How will having this exam improve my child’s health care?
- Are there alternatives that do not use radiation which are equally as good?
- Will my child receive a “kid-size” radiation dose?
- Is the doctor reading the CT scan certified by the American Board of Radiology?
- Is this facility accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR-accredited)?
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