Radiation Exposure Minimization
Recent accomplishments in the Department of Radiology demonstrate the Health System’s long-standing commitment to minimizing radiation exposure while maintaining diagnostic quality.
In a Blue Cross Blue Shield quality improvement study of 40 hospitals and imaging practices, called the Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging Consortium, our Cardiac Computed Tomography team reduced our average CT radiation exposure by 43 percent. The team was led by Smita Patel, MBBS, MRCP, FRCR, director of Cardiac CT and assistant professor, Department of Radiology, and Karen Barber, supervisor of the Radiology 3D lab.
In the beginning, our median effective radiation dose was 21 milliSievert, abbreviated mSv. But then, Barber says, “Our team members monitored every cardiac CT angiogram to make sure we were achieving the lowest possible dose for the patient. Our average dose here at U-M is now 9 mSv.”
“On the pediatric side, we are very conscious of radiation exposure to the children we study,” says Peter J. Strouse, M.D., professor of radiology. “Children are more sensitive to radiation exposure and have a longer life ahead of them in which to manifest the effects of exposure. In pediatric CT, we try to minimize our radiation doses through careful use of appropriate parameters based on patient size. This applies to all pediatric CT exams. Conservation of radiation exposure must be carefully balanced against the diagnostic quality of the CT images.”
UMHS recently replaced its Mott CT scanner with a new GE HD 750 which employs a new method of image reconstruction allowing us to decrease CT radiation doses up to 50 percent without a substantial loss in image quality. Strouse says, “This is a great advance for lighter-weight and pediatric patients, and joins three GE HD 750 CT scanners at University Hospital, which are primarily for adult patients.”
And the Physics Quality Control Group, headed by Mitch Goodsitt, Ph.D., DABR, FAAPM, Professor of Radiological Sciences, works in collaboration with radiologists and technologists to specify and purchase state-of-the-art radiographic, mammographic, fluoroscopic, angiographic and CT equipment that have improved x-ray detectors and other features that significantly lower patient dose.
Ella A. Kazerooni, M.D., FACR, professor of Radiological Sciences, associate chair for Clinical Affairs and director of Cardiothoracic Radiology, says, “I’m proud of all of our CT technologists, who through attention to detail and the numerous technical parameters they can choose from to perform these examinations, have done an awesome job at making our CT examinations both safe and high quality. Radiation exposure is something patients are thinking about more and more. It’s great to be able to put their mind at ease with confidence.”