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Clin Radiol. 2010 Nov;65(11):859-67. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2010.04.021. Epub 2010 Aug 14.

Radiation-reduction strategies in cardiac computed tomographic angiography.

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Peninsula Medical School, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK.


Ionizing radiation has long been known to increase the risk of cancer. X-rays and γ-rays are officially classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer.(1) Of the 5 billion imaging investigations performed worldwide two-thirds employ ionizing radiation.(2) Diagnostic x-rays are the largest man-made source of radiation exposure to the general population, and computed tomography (CT) represents the largest proportion of these.(3) Diagnostic CT has seen a dramatic increase in applications in the last two decades, not least in the higher dose applications. Whilst the increased use of CT has undoubtedly been of patient benefit, it inevitably will be associated with an increase in malignancy due to medical exposure. In fact a recent study from the USA has estimated that the CT examinations performed in 2007 could result in 29,000 future cancers based on current risk estimations.(4) Whilst the numbers in the UK will be less (only 4 million examinations are performed compared to 70 million), it is clear that it is the responsibility of all radiologists to carefully examine their CT techniques and protocols with the aim to reduce the dose of examinations without compromising their accuracy. Cardiac computed tomographic angiography (CTA) initially was a very high dose application. However, both clinicians and CT system manufacturers have done a large amount of work to reduce dose. Dramatic changes have been achieved and the aim of this review is to highlight these. However, such developments are not exclusively applicable to cardiac CTA and many can be utilized in CT in general.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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