8/24/2011 12:00:00 AM
This safety alert discusses the many patient safety incidents possible using diagnostic radiation. Diagnostic radiation is an effective tool that can save lives. The higher the dose of radiation delivered at any one time, however, 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. While experts disagree on the extent of the risks of cancer from diagnostic imaging, there is agreement that care should be taken to weigh the medical necessity of a given level of radiation exposure against the risks, and that steps should be taken to eliminate avoidable exposure to radiation.
This alert provides extensive information on methods to eliminate avoidable radiation dosing, ensuring the right imaging test is selected, ensuring the correct dose of radiation is used, creating and implementing effective processes that ensure safety, employing safe technology and practicing a safety culture.
Radiation risks of diagnostic imaging