FDA launches initiative to reduce radiation exposure from imaging

February 25, 2010

FDA recently announced an initiative to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure from three types of medical imaging procedures: computed tomography, nuclear medicine studies, and fluoroscopy.

FDA recently announced an initiative to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure from three types of medical imaging procedures: computed tomography, nuclear medicine studies, and fluoroscopy.

"The amount of radiation Americans are exposed to from medical imaging has dramatically increased over the past 20 years," said Jeffrey Shuren, MD, JD, of FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "The goal of FDA’s initiative is to support the benefits associated with medical imaging while minimizing the risks."

Through FDA’s regulatory oversight of medical imaging devices and through collaboration with other federal agencies and health care professional groups, the agency is advocating the adoption of two principles of radiation protection: appropriate justification of the radiation procedure and optimization of the radiation dose used during each procedure.

The three-pronged initiative will promote the safe use of medical imaging devices, support informed clinical decision-making, and increase patients’ awareness of their own exposure. FDA intends to issue targeted requirements for manufacturers of CT and fluoroscopic devices to incorporate important safeguards into the design of their machines to develop safer technologies and to provide appropriate training to support safe use by practitioners.

FDA said it continues to support a strong dialogue between patients and physicians over the medical necessity and risk associated with these types of imaging studies.

In related news, recent research has shown that low-dose CT imaging is effective for detecting ureteral stones; look for coverage of this study in the March 2010 issue of Urology Times.