While the imaging industry is beginning to earnestly address the threats of radiation exposure, a report released December 2 at RSNA 2010 indicates the risks may be lower than expected.

Researchers at Stanford University conducted a retrospective study of CT utilization using Medicare claims from 1998 through 2005. The research calculated the ionizing radiation exposure of the exams and estimated the associated cancer risks.

The research estimates a .02 percent increase in excess cancers among one cohort, and a .04 increase in a second.

The first cohort came from more than 500,000 studies conducted from 1998-2001; the second was from a similar number of studies from 2002-2005. Previous estimates pegged the increased risks at up to 2 percent.

The study also found that CT scans of the head were the most common exam, but abdominal CTs accounted for the most radiation exposure in each group.

The study was co-authored by Pat Basu, M.D., and Scott Atlas, M.D. Basu is a faculty radiologist and Atlas is the chief of radiology at Stanford University Medical Center.

--Greg Gillespie


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