Pregnancy screening of adolescents and women before radiologic testing: does radiology need a national guideline?

J Am Coll Radiol. 2007 Aug;4(8):533-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2007.03.016.


Ionizing radiation has known teratogenic and cancer risks to fetuses. Policies for radiation exposure of pregnant patients during imaging tests in radiology departments vary widely and may or may not be in fully written form. No national guideline exists for how individual radiologists or radiology departments should protect fetuses from ionizing radiation exposure. With the rapid increase in the use of radiologic testing in general, particularly computed tomography, more adolescents and women undergo computed tomographic imaging and may unintentionally expose their fetuses. A national discussion within radiology organizations is needed to understand the advantages and disadvantages in the development of a national guideline for screening women of childbearing age for pregnancy before any procedures using ionizing radiation are performed. Given the increased public concern and increased use of radiologic testing, such a national guideline would improve consumer satisfaction and safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Diagnostic Imaging / adverse effects
  • Diagnostic Imaging / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Radiology / standards*