Quality initiatives* radiation risk: what you should know to tell your patient.
ABSTRACT The steady increase in the number of radiologic procedures being performed is undeniably having a beneficial impact on healthcare. However, it is also becoming common practice to quantify the health detriment from radiation exposure by calculating the number of cancer-related deaths inferred from the effective dose delivered to a given patient population. The inference of a certain number of expected deaths from the effective dose is to be discouraged, but it remains important as a means of raising professional awareness of the danger associated with ionizing radiation. The risk associated with a radiologic examination appears to be rather low compared with the natural risk. However, any added risk, no matter how small, is unacceptable if it does not benefit the patient. The concept of diagnostic reference levels should be used to reduce variations in practice among institutions and to promote optimal dose indicator ranges for specific imaging protocols. In general, the basic principles of radiation protection (eg, justification and optimization of a procedure) need to be respected to help counteract the unjustified explosion in the number of procedures being performed.
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ABSTRACT: Thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair (TEVAR) is an appealing alternative to the standard surgical approach, but requires rigorous radiological follow-up. The cumulative radiation exposure (RE) of patients undergoing TEVAR-including pre-operative workup, the procedure and subsequent follow-up computed tomography (CT) imaging-has not previously been investigated. From August 2003 to February 2011, 48 patients underwent TEVAR at our institution. Mean age was 66 ± 11 years, with 10 patients (21%) aged <60 years. Forty-one (85%) patients were male; 7 (15%) had urgent/emergent operation; 21 (44%) had undergone previous aortic surgery. Mean aortic diameter was 7.3 ± 2.1 cm. Intra-operative screening time and RE were reviewed, and typical institutional thoracic CT scan RE was calculated (17.8 mSv). Life expectancy of an age- and sex-matched population was estimated to assess the cumulative RE from recurrent CT follow-up. The average screening time was 15.7 ± 11.4 min, with an RE of 11.3 ± 9 mSv. Obese patients had significantly higher RE during TEVAR (Pearson's coefficient = 0.388, P = 0.019). The RE dropped from 14.9 ± 9.4 mSv to 8.6 ± 7.9 mSv (P = 0.033) after a hybrid suite was established. Our institutional TEVAR protocol involves one pre-operative thoracoabdominal CT scan and three follow-up thoracic CT scans for the first year, with a yearly evaluation thereafter. The life expectancy of an age- and sex-matched population was 17 years. A patient adhering to our surveillance protocol would be subjected to an overall exposure of 89 mSv at 1 year and 161 mSv at 5 years, with a projected lifetime RE >350 mSv. A 2-year RE exceeding the threshold of 100 mSv with a life expectancy >15 years can be estimated to lead to a lifetime risk increase in radiation-induced leukaemia and solid-tumour cancer >2.7%. The risks of cumulative RE especially in younger and/or obese patients must be balanced with the expected morbidity and mortality reduction in TEVAR versus traditional open repair, and the anticipated benefits of recurrent radiographic imaging.European journal of cardio-thoracic surgery: official journal of the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery 01/2012; 42(2):254-59; discussion 259-60. · 2.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Pediatric patients harboring shunts placed early in life are subjected to numerous radiographic studies during development of their central nervous system. Radiation is detrimental to these young patients. MRI avoids the risk of radiation but is thought more difficult due to the increased time a young patient must lie motionless during scan acquisition. Optimal radiographic interrogation would be quick, radiation-free, and allow adequate ventricular evaluation. We queried the electronic medical records system of the senior author (SE) for the terms "hydrocephalus" and "shunt malfunction." All patients currently younger than 18 years were included. In the last 5 years, pediatric patients have been evaluated in an office setting with a limited MRI sequence (T1 sagittal, T2 axial, T1 axial, and DWI) lasting a total of 178 s. In the event of significant motion artifact, the total sequence is abandoned and an 8-s T2 diffusion-weighted scan is performed. Forty-four patients were included in the study (20 males, average age 10.4 yrs). Eighty-eight rapid acquisition scans were obtained. Adequate ventricular evaluation was performed without sedation in every case. In each instance where there was motion, the 8-s scan provided adequate ventricular evaluation. Rapid acquisition MRI scanning avoids the deleterious cumulative effects of radiation in pediatric patients and allows adequate evaluation of the ventricles without the need for sedation.Child s Nervous System 05/2012; 28(8):1237-41. · 1.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Pulmonary Embolism Rule-out Criteria (PERC) rule is a clinical diagnostic rule designed to exclude pulmonary embolism (PE) without further testing. We sought to externally validate the diagnostic performance of the PERC rule alone and combined with clinical probability assessment based on the revised Geneva score. The PERC rule was applied retrospectively to consecutive patients who presented with a clinical suspicion of PE to six emergency departments, and who were enrolled in a randomized trial of PE diagnosis. Patients who met all eight PERC criteria [PERC((-))] were considered to be at a very low risk for PE. We calculated the prevalence of PE among PERC((-)) patients according to their clinical pretest probability of PE. We estimated the negative likelihood ratio of the PERC rule to predict PE. Among 1675 patients, the prevalence of PE was 21.3%. Overall, 13.2% of patients were PERC((-)). The prevalence of PE was 5.4% [95% confidence interval (CI): 3.1-9.3%] among PERC((-)) patients overall and 6.4% (95% CI: 3.7-10.8%) among those PERC((-)) patients with a low clinical pretest probability of PE. The PERC rule had a negative likelihood ratio of 0.21 (95% CI: 0.12-0.38) [corrected] for predicting PE overall, and 0.63 (95% CI: 0.38-1.06) in low-risk patients. Our results suggest that the PERC rule alone or even when combined with the revised Geneva score cannot safely identify very low risk patients in whom PE can be ruled out without additional testing, at least in populations with a relatively high prevalence of PE.Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 02/2011; 9(2):300-4. · 6.08 Impact Factor