Benefits And Risks To Be Considered During Pediatric Computed Tomography

Pediatric Computed Tomography refers to examinations done in babies, young children and teenagers to help diagnose childhood disorders that are congenital (present at birth) or that develop during childhood. During the test, small amounts of radioactive material are used to diagnose or treat a variety of diseases.
However, radiation exposure can be a matter of concern in both adults and children. There are certain parameters to be considered during Pediatric Computed Tomography:
  • Children are considerably more sensitive to radiation than adults
  • Children have a longer life expectancy than adults. As a result, there is a larger window of opportunity for expressing radiation damage.
  • When adult CT settings are used for children, they receive a higher dose than necessary
So, the risk for developing a radiation-related cancer can be several times higher for a young child as compared to an adult exposed to an identical CT scan. As a preventive measure, CT settings can be reduced significantly while maintaining the quality of the image. Either children should not be scanned using adult CT exposure parameters or adjustments should be made so that, the amount of radiation children receive from CT can be reduced.

Doctors, pediatric health care providers, CT technologists, CT manufacturers and medical and governmental organizations should take required steps to reduce the amount of radiation that children receive from CT examinations.

Perform only necessary CT examinations. If possible, other modalities such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging should be considered which do not use ionizing radiation

Exposure parameters for pediatric CT scan should be adjusted based on the child’s weight, region of the body and the organ system being scanned.
Lower resolution scans should be considered if high quality images are not required for diagnosis.

The benefits of a Pediatric Computed Tomography should always outweigh the risks for an individual child. Unnecessary exposure to radiation is associated with unnecessary risk. Minimizing radiation exposure from pediatric Computed Tomography can reduce the number of CT-related cancer deaths.


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