While potential risks of diagnostic medical radiation are acknowledged, actual exposure of patients in routine clinical practice is poorly documented.
Dr Gibson and colleagues from Australia quantified such exposure to vulnerable abdominal organs in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who are already at risk of intestinal cancer.
The team assessed all incidences of exposure to diagnostic medical radiation documented in a consecutive series of 100 patients with IBD.
There were 62 patients with Crohn's disease, 37 with ulcerative colitis, and 1 indeterminate colitis patient attending a hospital-based clinic.
|An at-risk effective dose over 50 mSv was received by 11 patients|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Total effective dose (mSv) was calculated using published tables.
The team evaluated predictors of high or no irradiation by multivariate logistic regression analysis.
The researchers found that 13 patients had no documented diagnostic irradiation.
The team noted that 23 patients received an effective dose greater than 25 mSv.
An at-risk effective dose over 50 mSv was received by 11 patients.
The researchers found that dosage was higher in patients with Crohn's disease than ulcerative colitis, and in patients undergoing surgery.
However, no predictive factors for high radiation dosage or for no exposure were identified.
Dr Gibson's team concluded, "At-risk irradiation from diagnostic medical radiation is common in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, and might potentially contribute to the elevated risk of intra-abdominal and other cancers."
"The level of irradiation should be considered in clinical decisions regarding abdominal imaging."