Crozer-Keystone Sites Committed to Reducing CT Radiation Exposure to Patients
The cause-and-effect relationship between low-level radiation during diagnostic imaging and cancer risk is not certain, but some studies have suggested that there is a small risk that goes up with increasing dose. Because of these studies, and the news media coverage they have received, Crozer-Keystone Health System has taken steps to provide a safe diagnostic experience for patients.
Each of the health system’s imaging locations strives to offer state-of-the-art technologies for diagnosis and uses maximum precautions to ensure the least amount of radiation for each study.
“We frequently review protocols with an eye toward radiation dose reduction and patient shielding. In addition, we participate in the ‘Image Gently Program™’ which is a national campaign designed to provide guidelines for performing imaging exams, especially CT (computed tomography), on children,” says Joseph Stock, M.D., chairman of the Department of Radiology at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
Stock explains that children and patients of child-bearing age are more sensitive to radiation. The ‘Image Gently’ campaign reduces radiation exposure for children and includes the following features:
- Tailor the technique to the patient, reducing the amount of radiation used during a scan
- Reduce dosage of radiation for the appropriate size and age of every child
- Scan children only when necessary
- Scan only the indicated region
- Only do one scan versus multi-phase scanning
- Involve a medical physicist to monitor pediatric CT techniques
- Involve the technologist to optimize scanning.
“With the introduction of multi-slice CT scanning and the expanding use of CT as a diagnostic tool, there has been increasing concern for radiation dose to the patient. However, CT is a remarkable tool for diagnosis and it is clinically recognized and documented that the benefit from a CT examination is greater than the potential cancer risk. We must be sure that CT scans are ordered appropriately and not over-utilized,” says Krishnamurti Ramprasad, M.D., chairman of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at Taylor Hospital.
“When studies involving less or no radiation are equally appropriate, the radiologists make every effort to have the requested study changed. This helps to reduce the patient’s life-long dose of radiation,” says Thomas DiLiberto, D.O., chairman of the Department of Radiology at DCMH.
In 2007, Crozer-Keystone established a Radiation Safety Task Force to develop a program to ensure radiation safety. Part of the protocol is reviewing and selecting vendor equipment that uses less radiation still provides good image quality. All of the CT scanners in the Crozer-Keystone Health System are accredited by the American College of Radiology.
DiLiberto adds that patients are monitored for the test ordered and the radiation levels that they receive. The CT technologists notify the referring physician if they receive an order for a patient who has had more than five scans over a two-year period.
All Crozer-Keystone facilities are accredited by the American College of Radiology and inspected annually by the Food and Drug Administration.
Crozer-Keystone offers outpatient medical imaging services at six locations: Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Taylor Hospital, Springfield Hospital, the Crozer Medical Plaza at Brinton Lake and Media Medical Imaging.
To schedule an imaging appointment contact the Medical Imaging Appointment Scheduling Line 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-5-CK-XRAY (1-866-525-9729) or visit http://ckimaging.crozer.org to submit an online appointment request.
Most imaging sites have appointments available within 24 hours and reports are available to referring physicians within hours.