National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
February 9, 2010 • Volume 7 / Number 3

NIH Update

NIH Clinical Center to Track Radiation Doses from Diagnostic Imaging

On February 1, the NIH Clinical Center announced in the Journal of the American College of Radiology that the amount of radiation patients receive during CT scans and other radiology procedures performed at the center will be recorded in their electronic medical records.

Scientists have recently expressed concerns that people may receive too much radiation from diagnostic imaging, and that such radiation exposure has been inadequately monitored.

“All vendors who sell imaging equipment to…the NIH Clinical Center will be required to provide a routine means for radiation dose exposure to be recorded in the electronic medical record. This requirement will allow cataloging of radiation exposures from these medical tests,” stated Dr. David A. Bluemke, director of the Clinical Center’s Radiology and Imaging Sciences, in an accompanying press release.

Vendors also must provide a means for radiation dose exposure to be tracked by patients in their own personal health records.

Too few patients are seen at the NIH Clinical Center for these data to provide a population-based assessment of cancer risk from low-dose radiation. For such a study, “the accumulation of medical testing doses of hundreds of thousands of individuals in the United States over many years will ultimately be necessary,” said Dr. Bluemke. “We encourage all medical imaging facilities to include similar requirements for radiation-dose-reporting outputs from the manufacturers of radiation-producing medical equipment.”