New FDA guidance for pediatric imaging — 4 insights

Shayna Korol -   Print  |
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The FDA released new guidance for pediatric X-ray imaging exams on Jan. 9.

Here are four things you should know:


1. The FDA recommends that X-ray imaging exams use the lowest radiation dose needed. This includes CT, fluoroscopy, dental and conventional X-rays, which should be performed on children only when a healthcare provider believes they are necessary to guide treatment or answer a clinical question.


2. In X-ray imaging, optimizing image quality and radiation depends more on a patient's size than their age. Smaller patients require less radiation to obtain a useful image, and body thickness should be the chief consideration when "child-sizing" an image protocol.


3. Since pediatric patients have a longer expected lifetime than adults, they are at a higher risk of cancer from radiation exposure. Pediatric patients are more sensitive to radiation than adults, and using equipment and exposure settings designed for adults may result in excessive radiation exposure for smaller patients.


4. Healthcare providers should consider alternative types of imaging exams that do not expose the patient to ionizing radiation when alternatives could produce the same result, such as ultrasound or MRI.


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