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High-Dose Radiation Imaging Guidelines Inadequate, Researchers Say

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 17, 2010

Rather, they say, because the amount of radiation exposure is "a matter of concern," the tests should be viewed not in isolation "but rather within the clinical context where radiation risk for a specific patient is balanced against potential benefits."

Other studies have found similar amounts of radiation exposure for patients undertaking cumulative CT or MPI exams, they wrote.

"The findings of these studies, together with our findings, suggest that although most individuals receive little radiation from medical procedures, there exist certain groups of patients who receive high cumulative doses of radiation. Patients undergoing MPI, particularly those undergoing repeat MPI, are one such group. Efforts to reduce cumulative radiation dose should be especially targeted toward such groups," they wrote.

The authors also discovered a gender, racial, and economic disparity in who gets such tests.  "Men, white, and uninsured patients had higher odds of undergoing multiple MPI studies and received more MPI examinations, fluoroscopic procedures and higher cumulative dose," they wrote. "Whether this disparity in radiation doses represents an advantage or disadvantage is dependent on whether increase in utilization results in improved cardiovascular outcomes, and requires further study." They wrote.

The report may be viewed here.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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