July 16, 2014
1 min read

Medical imaging of children requires standardization of safety practices

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Due to the overuse and misuse of medical imaging among children, the Mayo Clinic has written an appeal to standardize safe and appropriate imaging of children.

Stephen J. Swensen, MD, FACR, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues call for the American College of Radiology, the Joint Commission, the Intersociety Accreditation Commission, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to require three safety practice measures for accreditation of all American hospitals and advanced diagnostic imaging facilities. The safety practice measures include:

  • The right exam: when employing minor head trauma imaging, use the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network Clinical Prediction Rule;
  • The right way: follow protocols to reduce dual-phase head and chest computed tomography (CT) imaging; and
  • The right radiation dose: use size-specific pediatric CT imaging protocols.

Stephen J. Swensen, MD

Stephen J. Swensen

The appeal is a response to strong evidence that indicates exposure to radiation causes a small but significant increase in children’s risk for cancer because children are highly susceptible to risks of ionizing radiation, according to the researchers.

“Establishing these protocols represents a great step forward on the path to safe imaging for children,” Randall Flick, MD, medical director for Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, said in a press release. “We have the knowledge and the tools today that can substantially improve the safety and quality of care for our children, while also decreasing costs. We have a compelling opportunity to reduce harm for the most susceptible population: our children.”