Zapping Radiation: Low-Dose Scans for Kids Are a Safety Priority
Our commitment to low-dose radiation helped the hospital earn the designation of a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence from the American College of Radiology. Akron Children’s the only hospital in Ohio, and 1 of only 3 children’s hospitals in the country, to receive that recognition.
Akron Children’s CT scan radiation doses are some of the lowest in the country – 2-3 times less than many adult hospitals.
“Having an accurate image inside a child’s body can be critical to diagnosing their illness,” said Michael Rubin, MD, chair of Akron Children’s Hospital’s radiology department. “However, CT scans carry potential risks of radiation exposure, which may have harmful long-term effects on children. That’s why we constantly evaluate our procedures to ensure that kids are getting the lowest radiation exposure possible.”
CT scans carry potential risks of radiation exposure, which may have harmful long-term effects on children.
Although radiation exposure is a concern for both adults and children, there are unique considerations in children:
- Studies have shown that children are considerably more sensitive to radiation than adults.
- Since children have a longer life expectancy than adults, there’s more opportunity for radiation exposure to have harmful effects.
- If CT settings aren’t adjusted for a child’s smaller body size, the child may receive a higher radiation dose than necessary.
We achieved our low-radiation status through a variety of efforts – starting with the machine itself.
“We worked with our CT scan manufacturer to lower the dosing presets, to ensure we’re not exposing children to any additional radiation if we can avoid it,” Dr. Rubin said. Minimizing radiation exposure is especially important in children with chronic illness who may require several scans.
And since our staff performs CT scans on thousands of children each year, they’re able to interpret results at even lower resolution.
Where possible, we also look for other ways to make diagnoses without using ionizing radiation imaging studies such as ultrasounds or MRIs.
When children do need CT scans, we strive to make it as comfortable as possible for kids.
“We want children to have a positive experience,” said Dr. Rubin. “Our staff takes time to explain what’s going to happen in terms they can understand. We also have our child life specialists on hand to offer extra support and comfort.”