FDA Issues New Guidelines to Limit Radiation Exposure in CT Scans

In the wake of increasing reports of excessive radiation exposure from CT scans, the FDA has issued new guidelines to limit the risk of radiation exposure. There are at least 250 reports of radiation exposure in California and preliminary reports of the same from other states. The new guidelines include the following 5 recommendations:
Facilities should determine whether patients who received CT perfusion scanning were exposed to excess radiation.
To ensure that correct radiation dosing is planned for each study, facilities should review their radiation dosing protocols for all CT perfusion studies. “Some facilities use the same algorithm for multiple tests, but we’re recommending making sure before each scan to check the radiation dose for each specific patient,” Dr. Shuren said. “We need to go back to basics.”
To ensure that dosing protocols are followed and that the planned amount of radiation is administered with each scan, quality control procedures should be implemented.
Before performing CT perfusion, radiologic technologists should check the CT scanner display panel to ensure that the amount of radiation to be delivered is at the appropriate level for the individual patient. Every facility performing CT imaging should review its CT protocols and be aware of the dose indices normally displayed on the control panel, including the volume CT dose index and the dose-length product. The values displayed should reasonably correspond to the doses normally associated with the protocol, and this should be confirmed both before and after scanning.
If more than a single study is performed on a patient during an imaging session, the dose of radiation should be adjusted accordingly so that it is appropriate for each study.
The symptoms associated with CT radiation exposure may include skin redness, loss of hair, and an increased risk of contracting certain cancers.