by Dr. Seema Alavi on July 7, 2011 at 12:50 PM
The introduction of computed tomography
(CT) has almost revolutionized diagnostic radiology.
As the usage of CT scan for diagnosing
pediatric ailments rises, the related worries and apprehensions arising due to
radiation risks also increase.
recent study conducted by the Dr. DB Larson and colleagues and published in the
Radiology Journal showed the increase in the number of CT scans done on
children in the Emergency Department to be fivefold in the 13-year span from
1995 to 2008.
Important questions pertaining to the
application of CT scan and radiation exposure in sensitive children were
brought to light by the study findings and were discussed at length in the
The most troubling thing is the fact that
children are exposed to adult-size radiation dose as not all hospitals are well
equipped with facilities to reduce the radiation dose.
Children are small and more sensitive to
radiation. They have fast dividing cells and more time required for radiation
cancers to appear.
Extensive efforts are in progress not
only for ensuring the proper use of CT in children but also to expose them to
lowest possible radiation rates.
The rise of CT scan usage in youngsters
is because of the remarkable technological improvement provided by CT scan, in
diagnosing diseases with ease.
Undoubtedly CT scan is an incredible
technology. "Thirty years ago, we couldn't see inside the brain. Now, we
can do a child's body in half a second. We have technology that gives us exquisite
imaging and we don't need to sedate the child. We can have a definitive
answer." said Marilyn Goske, MD, a pediatric radiologist at Cincinnati
Children's Hospital Medical Center.
Donald Frush of Duke University is of the
opinion that CT scan application is highly responsible for reduction in
false-negative rates for appendicitis laparotomies from 30% almost twenty years
back to 5-7% at present.
There has been a mounting increase in the
awareness level among patients and physicians about the implications of CT scan
exposure in children.
A multiorganizational campaign - the
Image Gently campaign encourages the low dose exposure of CT scan for children
to lower the associated risks of radiations.
order to guarantee safety, the parents should have a vivid idea of the related
radiation risks and should inquire such questions with the physicians before
actually going for a CT scan for their kids.
To conclude we can say that the proper
dose adjustment in accordance with the child's body size should be done by the
doctor while doing CT scanning.
scan is definitely a wonderful non-invasive technique to find out the hidden
pathologies but it has its risks and dangers, so intricate care should be taken
when dealing with children. Our aim should be to get the best information by
the safest possible way.