Radiation dose from common radiological investigations in children with cystic fibrosis

Cumulative radiation exposure is associated with increased risk of malignancy. This is important in cystic fibrosis (CF) as frequent imaging is required to monitor disease progression and diagnose complications | BMJ Open

Previous estimates of cumulative radiation are outdated as the imaging was performed on older equipment likely to deliver higher radiation. Our objectives were to determine the radiation dose delivered to children during common radiological investigations using modern equipment and to identify the number of such investigations performed in a cohort of children with CF to calculate their cumulative radiation exposure.

The mean EED for the common radiological investigations varied according to age. The range was 0.01–0.02 mSv for chest X-rays, 0.03–0.11 mSv for abdominal X-rays, 0.57–1.69 mSv for CT chest, 2.9–3.9 mSv for abdominal and pelvic CT, 0.20–0.21 mSv for sinus CT and 0.15–0.52 mSv for fluoroscopy-guided procedures. The mean EED was three to five times higher for helical compared with axial chest CT scans. The mean annual cumulative EED for our cohort of children with CF was 0.15 mSv/year with an estimated cumulative paediatric lifetime EED (0–18 years) of 3.5 mSv.

This study provides up-to-date estimations of the radiation exposure when using common radiological investigations. These doses and the estimates of cumulative radiation exposure in children with CF are lower than previously reported. This reflects the reduced EED associated with modern equipment and the use of age-specific scanning protocols.

Full reference: Ward, R. et al. (2017) Radiation dose from common radiological investigations and cumulative exposure in children with cystic fibrosis: an observational study from a single UK centre. BMJ Open. 7:e017548. 


Ultrasound for children with abdominal trauma

Despite evidence showing that the routine use of sonography in hospital emergency departments can safely improve care for adults when evaluating for possible abdominal trauma injuries, researchers at UC Davis Medical Center could not identify any significant improvements in care for pediatric trauma patients | ScienceDaily

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The findings, which resulted from a randomized clinical study involving 925 children with blunt torso trauma who were evaluated in the emergency department at the medical center, showed no difference in important clinical outcomes. The outcomes assessed were developed for the study mainly based on previous research in injured adults.

The UC Davis team investigated the Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) to determine whether the use of the FAST examination could safely lead to a decrease in the use of computed tomography (CT) scans for children, and other outcomes. FAST is a bedside ultrasound examination using a portable ultrasound machine. It has not been routinely used in the initial emergency department evaluations of injured children. CT scans represent the “gold standard” in diagnostic imaging for clinicians, including the identification of intra-abdominal injuries, but they also pose a greater radiation risk for children than they do for adults.

Ultrasound for children with broken arms: Accurate, faster, less painful than X-rays

Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) assessment of distal forearm injuries in children is accurate, timely, and associated with low levels of pain and high caregiver satisfaction | ScienceDaily


There are many goals when managing children with suspected fractures of the arm. These include being fast and accurate in the diagnosis, not causing more pain and limiting exposure to radiation. Achieving these goals can result in high rates of caregiver satisfaction. Dr. Poonai’s study suggests that POCUS may be a viable alternative to x-ray with respect to diagnostic accuracy, cost effectiveness, pain, caregiver satisfaction, and procedure duration.

Read the full overview via ScienceDaily here

The original research article is available here