CT scans & radiation exposure: crib sheet

6 Oct

via a 2007  article from Radiologic Technology (found on the imagegently.org site), some contextual info and #’s that might help clarify things in your own mind, and help in risk/benefit discussions with patients:


If you only have 5 minutes, read Table 2 in the article.


If you only have 2 minutes, here are some highlights:

X-rays are high energy, ionizing radiation and will break apart DNA molecules. Light sources and microwaves have much lower energies, which are insufficient to break up molecules.

dose from a typical chest CT examination (5 to 10 mSv) is more than 100 times larger than conventional CXR (0.05 mSv)

CT examination exposures generally are higher than 1 year’s worth of background radiation exposure (~3 mSv).

A CT scan with a dose of 10 mSv has an average cancer induction risk of about 1 in 1000, with half of those cancers being fatal (most are expressed decades after the scan).

overall cancer incidence in a population is ~480/1000.

References: article on imagegently.org; picture


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