Exploradores más nuevos de CT reducen perceptiblemente la radiación

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | June 24, 2014
Dr. Gill Raff
There is a well-known concern that the radiation from CT scanners can potentially put patients at a higher lifetime risk of cancer. But the newer generation CT scanners may be able to curb that, according to a recent study published online in the Journal of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography.

The researchers at Beaumont Health System wanted to conduct the first large-scale study that compared newer CT scanners with older models in a "real world" setting. The emphasis on making it a real world study meant researchers would compare the units under typical, not optimal use. For other studies, a carefully designed protocol is agreed upon and adjustments are made to try to make the machine work as best as it can, and the results don't necessarily offer an accurate picture.

"The trouble with that is that it always comes out with very strong results and we wanted to know what people are actually getting in a real clinical setting where there isn't such tight control," Dr. Gill Raff, senior author of the study, told DOTmed News.
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The study included 2,085 patients at nine hospitals in the U.S. and Middle East that the researchers deemed "high-quality" — meaning they were keeping up with the latest technology.

First, they looked at the hospitals' radiation doses for CT scans for coronary artery disease, pulmonary embolism and aortic disease using first generation, 64-slice, single-source scanners and first generation, dual-source scanners. After the hospitals installed the newer generation, dual-source CT scanners, all of the radiation doses were compared.

They found that the patient radiation exposure was reduced by 61 percent with the newer scanners and there was no significant difference in image quality. Raff attributes it to improvements in engineering — the newer scanners complete a scan in about a fifth of the time of the older models.

This study is part of a large-scale international effort to reduce radiation exposure to patients and Raff is looking to update the current radiation safety guidelines, specifically for cardiovascular imaging. "As technology changes, we need to bring those reference standards down," he said. "What we're hoping to do is maintain modern standards."

He's confident that the findings of his study will lead to new standards because he has worked on standards for the Society of Cardiovascular Computer Tomography for cardiac exams and he knows that they are heavily based on large-scale studies.

"It's a piece of evidence," he said. "One of the reasons we wanted to do this was to establish enough patients in a certain way that it would have meaning for the individuals who are developing new guidelines."

Going forward, Raff said that he will be conducting further studies once there are new technological developments. "I want to follow the field and encourage manufacturers to continue their very successful innovations," he said.

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