Heavy Use Of CT Scans Raises Concerns About Patients’ Exposure To Radiation

(By – Sandra G. Boodman, Kaiser Health News)

Jean Hanvik decided that enough was enough. When a painful intestinal inflammation flared in 2014, the 55-year-old benefits communications consultant balked at her doctor’s recommendation that she undergo another abdominal CT scan — her fourth in eight years.

“I’d just read about how abdominal CTs are one of the highest-risk tests [in terms of radiation exposure] and should not be repeated unless there was a major change,” said Hanvik, who lives in Minneapolis. In the past, antibiotics and a bland diet had quelled her recurrent diverticulitis. Hanvik said she wanted to follow that approach again but avoid a scan, which contains about 10 millisieverts (mSv) of radiation, the rough equivalent of 200 chest X-rays or 1,500 dental X-rays.

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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