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Publication Type: Sentinel Event Alert
Single or Multiple Incident: Multiple
Date: 8/24/2011 12:00:00 AM

This alert addresses the risks of diagnostic imaging and fluoroscopy with regard to repeated doses, insufficient radiation and overall risks from diagnostic imaging. The higher the dose of radiation delivered at any one time, the greater the risk for long-term damage. If a patient receives repeated doses, harm can also occur as the cumulative effect of those multiple doses over time. Conversely, using insufficient radiation may increase the risk of misdiagnosis, delayed treatment, or, if the initial test is inadequate, repeat testing with the attendant exposure to even more radiation. The risks associated with the use of ionizing radiation in diagnostic imaging include cancer, burns and other injuries. The alert identifies patients most pront to harm. The purpose of the alert is to inform and support healthcare organization to reduce risks due to avoidable ionizing radiation by raising awareness among staff and patients of the increased risks associated with cumulative radiation doses and by providing the right test and the right dose through effective processes, safe technology and a culture of safety. Recommendations addressing these strategies are provided.

Radiation risks of diagnostic imaging and fluoroscopy