CT Scan Radiation Risk Worries FDA Officials
Regulators at the Food
and Drug Administration (news - web sites) (FDA) are
concerned that the growing popularity of high-tech computerized
body imaging for health screening could be exposing the public
to risky levels of radiation, according to agency officials.
advances in computerized tomography (CT) technology have increased
the efficiency and lowered the price of the scans. The changes
have helped spawn a new nationwide industry of unregulated boutique
clinics where patients pay $300 to $500 of their own money to
get CT scans not for diagnosis, but for regular health screening,
officials told an FDA advisory panel Thursday.
The agency is worried
that easily available screening with CT has the potential of
exposing patients to unhealthy repeat doses of the X-ray radiation
the machines use to form images. While FDA evaluates the safety
and effectiveness of CT scanners and other medical devices for
regular use, it has no power to regulate how those machines are
used once they reach doctors offices.
``We don't have dose limits
on CT. How the operator uses it is totally out of our control,''
Dr. Thomas B. Shope, a special assistant at FDA's Center for
Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), said in an interview
with Reuters Health.
Thanks to Reuters Health, May 2001
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