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Large medical center reduces cumulative radiation exposure and CT scans through imaging algorithm

June 21, 2010

A large, academic medical center implemented an imaging algorithm that allowed radiologists to successfully reduce the cumulative radiation exposure and number of computed tomography (CT) angiography (CTA) and CT perfusion studies performed on patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhages (a form of stroke), according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org).

The algorithm serves as a guide to physicians regarding the most appropriate time points at which to detect vasospasm (a condition in which blood vessels spasm, leading to vasoconstriction (a narrowing of the blood vessels) with CTA and CT perfusion imaging.

The study, performed at the New York Presbyterian Hospital -- Weill Cornell Medical Center, in New York, NY, included 60 patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhages: 30 in the baseline group (before implementation of the imaging algorithm) and 30 patients in the post-algorithm group.

"With the new algorithm, the mean number of CT examinations per patient was 5.8 compared with 7.8 at baseline, representing a decrease of 25.6 percent," said Michael L. Loftus, MD, lead author of the study. "The number of CT perfusion examinations per patient decreased 32.1 percent. Overall, there was a 12.1 percent decrease in cumulative radiation exposure," said Loftus.

"Our results are promising, showing that guidelines for utilization of CT can lead to reduced radiation exposure of individual patients and the population. Our overall goal is to apply to other patient populations this concept of imaging algorithms as utilization guidelines for CT," he said.

"Application of these methods to other patient populations with the high use of CT may reduce cumulative radiation exposure while the clinical benefits of imaging are maintained," said Loftus.
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This study appears in the July issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. For a copy of the full study or to request an interview with Dr. Loftus, please contact Heather Curry via email at hcurry@acr-arrs.org or at 703-390-9822.

About ARRS

The American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) was founded in 1900 and is the oldest radiology society in the United States. Its monthly journal, the American Journal of Roentgenology, began publication in 1906. Radiologists from all over the world attend the ARRS annual meeting to participate in instructional courses, scientific paper presentations and scientific and commercial exhibits related to the field of radiology. The Society is named after the first Nobel Laureate in Physics, Wilhelm Röentgen, who discovered the x-ray in 1895.

American College of Radiology

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