Ionizing Radiation Exposure in Pediatric Patients With Intestinal Failure

Am Surg. 2021 Jul;87(7):1062-1065. doi: 10.1177/0003134820954840. Epub 2020 Dec 9.


Background: Children with intestinal failure (IF) are frequently exposed to imaging studies using ionizing radiation. Due to many advancements in care of pediatric patients with IF, the number of patients living with this condition is growing. This burden of disease as pertains to pediatric IF patients has not been previously described.

Methods and results: 10 patients in a multidisciplinary clinic for IF were included in a retrospective review of ionizing imaging studies. Ages ranged from 2-6 years old. The average number of studies performed exposing patients to ionizing radiation was 69.1 (±41.0). A majority of the studies were plain radiographs. Fluoroscopy studies were common. The Computed tomography scans were less common. An average of 31% (±25.7%) of these studies were obtained before the first discharge from the hospital.

Conclusions: While survival and outcomes of IF patients continue to improve, it is important to consider the impact of radiation-related exposure to which this population is frequently subjected. Long-term follow-up will be necessary to determine whether or not this translates to increased risks or complications in this already vulnerable patient population.

Keywords: imaging; intestinal failure; pediatric.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Procedures and Techniques Utilization
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiation Exposure*
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Radiography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies