According to a recent study, the number of CT scans performed on children in emergency rooms has skyrocketed. These new findings are a concern as some children may be exposed to doses radiation that are equivalent to adult doses. This could raise the risk of these children developing cancer.
A study reported in Radiology journal on Tuesday showed thatemergency room visits for children have not significantly increased, but the use of CT scans on children during emergency room visits increased five-fold from 330,000 in 1995 to 1.65 million in 2008.
Adults are also found to have more CT scans performed, but children are more sensitive to radiation and have more time to develop cancers caused by radiation, so special precautions must be taken, which includes adjusting the radiation dose to smaller sizes.
Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital has started using ultrasound on children with abdominal pain to reduce the use of CT scans. Although ultrasound images do not provide as much detail as CT scan images, it can help reduce the amount of exposure to radiation.
The CT scan is a quick diagnostic method that can be administered easily, and experts believe that this may be the reason for the increased usage in children.
According to the leading researcher of the study, the findings were vital in making sure that radiation devices are used correctly with special attention given to children ensuring that CT scans are ordered, performed and interpreted appropriately.