PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One Philadelphia hospital is making CT scans safer.
CT scans are an essential diagnostic tool and tens of millions are performed every year. Now, research from Einstein has established a way to reduce radiation exposure from the imaging.
Diana Mora has to get routine CT scans to monitor her advanced kidney disease and now, thanks to new research from Dr. Ryan Lee, who is chief of neuroradiology at Einstein Medical Center.
“If I have to have these tests done, I’d rather have it at that low rate rather than the high rate and worry about the future,” Mora said.
The worry is that radiation from CT scans could potentially cause cancer.
“Especially with increased use of CAT scans, there is more concern for cancer,” Dr. Lee explained. “So, if we can minimize the amount of radiation we give to our patients, we can lower that risk.”
Dr. Lee and his team have established a new way to standardize CT scans and lower the radiation dose by about 40 percent.
“Decrease dose isn’t the ultimate goal because anyone can decrease dose,” Dr. Lee explained. “The trick is to decrease dose and preserve the quality or in some cases, increase the quality of our scans.”
Computed tomography use hundreds of X-rays to create detailed three-dimensional images that enable doctors to see things previously visible only through a biopsy or surgery.
They’re an invaluable diagnostic tool but there’s been no standard for radiation dosing.
“Ours, as far as we know, is one of the first to describe a method for consistently administrating the same amount of radiation dose for each CAT scan,” Dr. Lee said.
Einstein is now using advanced software to standardize CT scans at all its centers.
Experts say children and people who get repeated CT scans face the biggest risk. The FDA says there’s a lot of “uncertainty” about potential harms.