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, 8 (12), 902-915

Computed Tomography and Patient Risk: Facts, Perceptions and Uncertainties


Computed Tomography and Patient Risk: Facts, Perceptions and Uncertainties

Stephen P Power et al. World J Radiol.


Since its introduction in the 1970s, computed tomography (CT) has revolutionized diagnostic decision-making. One of the major concerns associated with the widespread use of CT is the associated increased radiation exposure incurred by patients. The link between ionizing radiation and the subsequent development of neoplasia has been largely based on extrapolating data from studies of survivors of the atomic bombs dropped in Japan in 1945 and on assessments of the increased relative risk of neoplasia in those occupationally exposed to radiation within the nuclear industry. However, the association between exposure to low-dose radiation from diagnostic imaging examinations and oncogenesis remains unclear. With improved technology, significant advances have already been achieved with regards to radiation dose reduction. There are several dose optimization strategies available that may be readily employed including omitting unnecessary images at the ends of acquired series, minimizing the number of phases acquired, and the use of automated exposure control as opposed to fixed tube current techniques. In addition, new image reconstruction techniques that reduce radiation dose have been developed in recent years with promising results. These techniques use iterative reconstruction algorithms to attain diagnostic quality images with reduced image noise at lower radiation doses.

Keywords: Carcinogenesis; Computed tomography; Iterative reconstruction; Neoplasia; Radiation dose.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict-of-interest statement: All authors declare no conflicts of interest.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Estimated number of computed tomography scans performed annually in the United States (Image directly from ref.[22]). CT: Computed tomography.

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