DR summit focuses on safety measures for children
In February, the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging expanded the Image Gently radiation dose initiative from CT and interventional radiology to computed radiography (CR) and digital radiography (DR) exams by hosting a Digital Radiography Summit at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University in St. Louis.

The summit brought together more than 70 representatives from medical facilities, educational institutions, the FDA, professional associations and equipment manufacturers. Stakeholders discussed the expanded use of radiography in pediatric exams and ways to ensure radiation exposure per exam and per patient is kept to a minimum.

“Standard x-rays utilize far less radiation than advanced imaging procedures such as CT, but because they are so commonly performed, they present a significant opportunity to lower the radiation dose that children receive each year from medical imaging,” said Steven Don, MD, a summit organizer and head of the Image Gently CR/DR initiative and associate professor of radiology at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

One of the problems that has plagued the careful documentation of patient radiation exposure is the various exposure indexes used by different manufacturers. At the meeting, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and the International Electrotechnical Commission worked to create a unified standard for CR/DR radiation exposure indexes.

"Maintaining consistent exposure index standards is critical for pediatric patients and medical imaging personnel. A unified standard would help providers deliver appropriate radiation dose for each procedure, help ensure that patients receive a consistent radiation dose regardless of equipment make and reinforce a consistent baseline quality of care," said J. Anthony Seibert, PhD, professor of radiology at University of California, Davis Medical Center, and president-elect of the AAPM.

 In addition, the American College of Radiology (ACR) said it will develop a CR/DR registry to help develop national benchmarks for quality and dose optimization for children. The ACR had previously launched a similar registry for CT imaging.

"The summit was a very successful first step in educating radiologists, radiologic technologists, medical imaging physicists, the FDA and manufacturers of digital radiography equipment about the unique problems faced by those using this equipment for children's imaging in daily practice," said Marilyn Goske, MD, chair of the Alliance and Silverman chair for Radiology Education at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center.