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FDA Announces New Steps to Prevent CT Scanner Radiation Overdoses

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced new steps to increase the safety of procedures surrounding patients who undergo computed tomography (CT) brain perfusion scans. The changes are being introduced after several reports that patients were exposed to excessive amounts of radiation, causing some individuals to suffer headaches, memory issues, confusion, an odd pattern of hair loss, and other serious side effects.

The FDA news release states that the FDA has sent a letter to the Medical Imagining and Technology Alliance addressing the results of its investigation of CT scanners as well as possible CT equipment improvements that could enhance patient safety. Some of the changes to be addressed include the following:

  • A display panel that will alert a CT scanner operator of an excessive radiation dose
  • The supply of specific information and training regarding brain-perfusion protocols to all facilities that have base CT equipment. This will be done regardless of whether a facility purchases related software allowing quantitative analysis of cerebral hemodynamics
  • More detailed and clarified parameters affecting dose as well as precise instructions regarding how to correctly set those factors
  • User manual will include organized information regarding dose-related data in one section, in a separate dose manual, or in a collection covering all manuals

These changes and potential others will be addressed further in order to lower the chances of a patient suffering radiation overexposure from improper CT scanner use. So far, the FDA’s investigation has revealed that CT scan radiation overdoses were not caused by CT scanners malfunction, and were instead caused by improper CT scanner use by an operator. The FDA’s probe started in 2009 and included information from the states and facilities where radiation overdoses took place from 2008 to October 26, 2010. CT scanner equipment manufacturers have also been inspected by the FDA.

Patients who have suffered adverse health problems after receiving a CT scan may want to get in touch with a CT scan radiation overdose attorney who can help protect their rights. In revealing potential CT equipment improvements and addressing CT scanner procedures of operation, the FDA’s Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imagining is underway.

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