Study finds advanced CT scanners reduce patient radiation exposure

June 21, 2014
Study author Kavitha Chinnaiyan, M.D., is director of Advanced Cardiac Imaging Research at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. Credit: Beaumont Health System

Computed tomography scans are an accepted standard of care for diagnosing heart and lung conditions. But clinicians worry that the growing use of CT scans could be placing patients at a higher lifetime risk of cancer from radiation exposure.

Beaumont Health System research, published in the June 20 online issue of the Journal of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, found that the use of advanced CT scanning equipment is helping to address this important concern.

The study, of 2,085 at nine centers in the U.S. and Middle East, found that using newer generation, dual-source CT scanners significantly reduced for patients when compared with first generation, 64-slice, single-source scanners or first generation, dual-source CT scanners.

Patient radiation exposure was reduced by 61 percent with the newer scanners, with no significant difference in image quality for patients having CT scans for , pulmonary embolism or aortic disease.

"Newer technology makes a difference in terms of radiation exposure and the difference is quite large," says study author Kavitha Chinnaiyan, M.D., director of Advanced Cardiac Imaging Research at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. "It is important for patients to ask questions when referred for a radiation-based test to understand what the procedure involves and what the risks are of the particular technique and if there are alternative imaging choices."

The study findings also have important implications for referring physicians.

"Clinicians must understand that imaging studies not only have a major impact on the care of an individual patient, but also on trends in radiation exposure, as well as overall health care costs," says Dr. Chinnaiyan. "Incidental findings may require further imaging studies with other radiation-based tests. In addition to choosing patients appropriately, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of testing with patients, and to refer them to centers that offer newer technologies."

The study results provide information that will help in setting standards for radiation safety quality control in cardiovascular imaging.

Beaumont cardiologists are world leaders in cardiac CT imaging research and have published studies on the use of CT imaging for identifying heart obstructions requiring invasive heart catheterization; for diagnosing or predicting heart attack; for identifying unstable plaque likely to cause a heart attack; and for diagnosing chest pain patients in the Emergency Center.

Explore further: Newer techniques are making cardiac CT safer for children

Related Stories

Newer techniques are making cardiac CT safer for children

July 17, 2011

Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) has excellent image quality and diagnostic confidence for the entire spectrum of pediatric patients, with significant reduction of risk with recent technological advancements, ...

X-rays overused in ICU: Ultrasound safer, just as effective

October 28, 2013

A new study shows that the use of ultrasound testing rather than x-rays or CT scans in the ICU reduces patient radiation exposure and lowers costs of care. The study was presented at CHEST 2013, the annual meeting of the ...

CT scans don't interfere with cardiac rhythm devices

March 3, 2014

(HealthDay)—Cardiac rhythm management devices should not be a cause for delaying computed tomography (CT) imaging procedures, according to research published online Feb. 26 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Recommended for you

Heart attack treatment hypothesis 'busted'

July 6, 2015

Researchers have long had reason to hope that blocking the flow of calcium into the mitochondria of heart and brain cells could be one way to prevent damage caused by heart attacks and strokes. But in a study of mice engineered ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.