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Radiation Exposure Safety

By DuPage Medical Group Radiology

At DMG, we strive to provide the highest quality imaging to each and every one of our patients. Your safety during this process is our greatest concern. With CT and X-ray, radiation exposure is a risk that we attempt to minimize as much as possible. Our Radiology department has implemented safeguards to minimize this dose while maintaining maximum quality for your exam. 

At DMG, we have minimized the radiation dosage to our patients by minimizing the technique necessary to obtain diagnostic imaging quality as recommended by the Food and Drug Administration and the “Image Gently” campaign.

What are we doing to minimize radiation exposure?

  • We are monitoring the doses of every patient scanned on the 64-detector scanners. Based on our findings, we have altered our protocols across the board to minimize radiation dose as much as possible, particularly in younger patients and patients who are scanned frequently. At DMG, all of our CT scanners are certified by the American College of Radiology and meet the latest quality guidelines.
  • We routinely use breast shields in female patients under 60 years of age.
  • Our physicians have been made aware of these issues when ordering studies, particularly in young patients or patients with chronic conditions, such as Crohn’s disease. In particular, we try to avoid ordering multi-phase (e.g., pre- and post- contrast) studies without a clear indication.
  • We assess real risk-benefits from each study.
  • We make every effort to try to obtain imaging histories from old charts and from patients.
  • The radiation safety officer (RSO) is informed of all radiation issues that may arise in our practice.
  • The RSO is also informed of excessive CT exposure. We have set a threshold of 5 abdominal/pelvic, chest, or neck CT scans in anyone less than 40 years of age with benign diagnoses, based on our current dose estimates for the studies we perform. We are monitoring on a case-by-case basis those patients who may have had excessive exposure from multiple CTs. The CT technologists or radiologists bring these cases to the RSO’s attention. The RSO then reviews the case, the imaging, and the clinical indications, and calls the clinician if needed to determine if an additional CT is appropriate. A letter to the ordering clinician(s) may be sent, as well as to the patient in the case of more frequent exposure (more than 10 CTs). In addition, these patients’ EMR will be annotated in a fashion similar to contrast allergy such that radiologic consultation will be required for further CT imaging. Further management on a case-by-case basis may become necessary if continued exposure is ongoing.
  • We have created wallet-sized cards, available in our imaging center lobbies, where patients can keep a written record of all imaging studies they receive. We feel that a radiation record for each patient is important, similar to an immunization record.

DuPage Medical Group's radiation safety program started in April of 2009, when the medical literature had reflected the scope of this problem. DMG is committed to providing the highest level of imaging excellence, at the lowest possible dose to our patients. We will continue to search for ways to minimize radiation dose to our patients. Our mission is, truly, to “image gently.” 

Topics and Subtopics: Diagnostic Testing & Radiology

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