Dr. Tom Colletti
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to explore the possible adverse long-term effects of CT scan related radiation in patients measured by prevalence of subsequent malignancies, versus the natural incidence of malignancies in the general population.
Methods: A PubMed literature search was conducted with search terms including “CT scan,” “use,” “adverse,” “risk,” “malignancy,” and “radiation.” Additional parameters were added for only full text articles available, associated data included, and those published within the past 3 years. Twenty-seven possible publications were resulted from this search, with 10 selected to serve as the potential basis for this review. Results: There is significant need for further research into the longitudinal adverse effects of CT scan related radiation exposure and incidence of malignancies. Current research suggests a positive correlation between malignancies such as brain tumors and leukemias as a direct sequela CT scan related radiation. Subsequent education of providers about this potential harmful aspect of computed tomography should be carried out accordingly based on additional peer reviewed and evidence-based data.
Conclusion: CT scans have been the preferred imaging modality for providers in various internal medicine settings for the last 49 years. However, exposures to seemingly harmless doses of radiation have been found to increase the incidence of malignancies such as lymphomas and brain tumors in patients who receive multiple CT scans throughout their lifetime. Further research should be conducted into the longitudinal adverse effects of such radiation exposure, with the ultimate focus on reducing the use of unnecessary CT imaging modalities through the education of providers. Proving such information empowers both clinicians and patients to make informed decisions through awareness of the benefits and the risks.
Power AD. Overutilization of Computed Tomography in Clinical Settings. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2021; 4(1).
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