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Initiative Demands Safe-Imaging Standards For Children

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Mayo Clinic and 10 other institutions from around the United States are leading an effort to institute a national protocol to limit radiation dosage when imaging children.

Representatives of the institutions published an invited commentary titled “An Appeal for Safe and Appropriate Imaging of Children” online last week in Journal of Patient Safety. Lead author Stephen J. Swensen, MD, a radiologist at Mayo in Rochester, Minnesota, bluntly described the goal of the initiative:

No hospital or medical imaging facility in the country should be granted the privilege of imaging children unless it first meets fundamental safe-practice performance measures.

Dr. Swenson was quoted in a Mayo news release. He described the effort as a “real exciting opportunity to save lives in this country while saving money.”

The commentary called for the American College of Radiology, The Joint Commission, the Intersociety Accreditation Commission, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to require the adoption of three safety practices as a condition for accreditation of all American hospitals and advanced diagnostic imaging facilities. The practices are the following:

  • Use of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network Clinical Prediction Rule in deciding whether to image for minor head trauma, which the commentary calls “the Right Exam.”
  • Use of protocols to reduce dual-phase head and chest CT imaging, which the commentary calls “the Right Way.”
  • Use of size-specific pediatric CT imaging protocols, which the commentary calls “the Right Radiation Dose.”

The commentary notes that its proposals align with the National Quality Forum Safe Practices for Pediatric Imaging. Co-authors of the commentary are:

Related CME seminar (up to 11 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™): ALARA – CT (As Low As Reasonably Achievable)


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