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Low-dose CT protocols for stone detection may reduce cancer risk

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The reduction of radiation exposure associated with CT imaging in patients with ureteral stones may reduce the risk of cancer in these patients, according to results of a study from Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA.

The reduction of radiation exposure associated with CT imaging in patients with ureteral stones may reduce the risk of cancer in these patients, according to results of a study from Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA.

"In this paper, we were able to use an experimental protocol to reduce the radiation exposure for CT imaging by 95% without decreasing the sensitivity or specificity for detection of ureteral stones," said first author Forrest Jellison, MD, working with D. Duane Baldwin, MD, and colleagues.

The study results, which were published in the Journal of Urology (2009; 182:2762-7), come during a time of mounting evidence that radiation associated with medical imaging may place patients at risk for malignancy and death.

"Our low-dose CT study is unique in its prospective design," Dr. Baldwin said. "By using cadavers, we were able to compare CT imaging at many different radiation levels in a way that would have been unethical in a patient."

Low-dose CT protocols are currently available, the authors pointed out, and Loma Linda physicians have implemented them for selected patients with stones and flank pain and are expanding their use to other patient populations.

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