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FDA Eyes Risk of Radiation Overdose in Medical Facilities

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By Minara El-Rahman on February 11, 2010 11:45 AM

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it will introduce an initiative that strives to minimize the risk of radiation overdose from medical imaging technologies in medical facilities. In a press release by the FDA, there will be three specific medical imaging technologies that will be monitored in order to reduce radiation exposure: computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine studies, and fluoroscopy.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the initiative announced by the FDA is part of an effort to address the reports of injuries and the overall exposure to radiation in the lifetime of an average individual. The amount of average exposure has almost doubled since 1980. This overall jump in radiation exposure has reportedly been due partly to CT scans and other medical imaging technologies. According to the Los Angeles Times, medical radiation now may be the cause of more than 50% of the population's total radiation exposure.

Some of the recommendations made by the FDA as part of their new initiative are:

  • Issuing targeted requirements for manufacturers of CT and fluoroscopic devices to incorporate important safeguards into the design of their machines to develop safer technologies.
  • Providing appropriate training to support safe use by practitioners.
  • Incorporating key quality assurance practices into the mandatory accreditation and conditions of participation survey processes for imaging facilities and hospitals.
  • Developing one or more national registries for radiation doses.

This announcement by the FDA should be not surprising considering that the agency had to address concerns of the possibility of CT radiation overdose earlier. We wrote about how the FDA issued interim recommendations for the prevention of CT radiation overdose in FindLaw's Injured blog. In that press release, the FDA stated that it will work with manufacturers, professional organizations, and state and local public health authorities in order to put permanent guidelines into place.

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