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The Risks associated with Ionizing Radiation in Medical Imaging practice, and the Precautions required for Protection against them. Medical imaging has, of late, revolutionized the field of modern medicine, emerging as an undeniable lifeline for early detection and diagnosis of diseases…
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Download file to see previous pages Medical imaging involving ionizing radiation uses x-rays and gamma rays. As the ionizing radiation passes through the body, it is differentially absorbed by tissues of greater thickness, causing ionization of tissue atoms making them chemically reactive and potentially capable of cell damage (Yale 2011). This raises concern over the frequent use of ionising radiation in medical imaging, and the associated risks to human health. Exposure to ionizing radiation is of concern because evidence has linked exposure to low-level ionizing radiation at doses used in medical imaging to the development of cancer. The National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council comprehensively reviewed biological and epidemiological data related to health risks from exposure to ionizing radiation, recently published as the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VII Phase 2 report. The epidemiologic data described atomic bomb survivors, populations who lived near nuclear facilities during accidental releases of radioactive materials such as Chernobyl, workers with occupational exposures, and populations who received exposures from diagnostic and therapeutic medical studies. Radiation doses associated with commonly used CT examinations resemble doses received by individuals in whom an increased risk of cancer was documented. For example, an increased risk of cancer has been identified among long-term survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs, who received exposures of 10 to 100 milli-sieverts (mSv). A single CT scan can deliver an equivalent radiation exposure, and patients may receive multiple CT scans over time. (Smith-Bindman et al 2009) Risks involved in the use of Ionizing radiation Since the finding of the first solid tumour that resulted from the effects of ionizing radiation, protection from ionizing radiation used in medical procedures has become a vital issue, particularly in view of the dramatic increase in the number medical procedures involving its use (Davros et al 2007). Because of the public uproar over radiation protection, an International Commission for Radiation Protection was established in 1928. "The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) estimates that the average person has an approximately 4-5% increased relative risk of fatal cancer after a whole-body dose of 1 Sv. However, other studies on multiple cohorts of radiation workers have largely failed to establish statistically significant cancer risks. When multiple occupational cohorts were combined and evaluated in a somewhat systematic way, a combined excess relative risk of cancer death of just less than 1% was estimated" (Cardis et al 2005). During the 1950s and 1960s, there were an increasing number of indicators that ionizing radiation was dangerous to humans. Experimentation using X-rays on animals, particularly rats, have linked ionizing radiation exposure to impending death, even at low levels. It has been proved that high and more frequent doses of radiation pose greater risks to the patient, causing, for example, skin erythema and other kinds of irritations (Egbe et al 2009). Other side-effects of ionizing radiation include dizziness, nausea, and light headedness. Risks associated with radiation exposure in hepato-biliary scans are quite high. In a study by McCollough et al (2009) it was found that in many cases, the onset of cancer was linked to the area frequently exposed to x-rays. Other studies suggest that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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