Awareness of radiation risks from CT scans among patients and providers and obstacles for informed decision-making

Angel L. Schuster, Howard P. Forman, Paula D. Strassle, Laura T. Meyer, Scott V. Connelly, Christoph I. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Using the study design from a prominent 2004 study, we aimed to reassess patient, provider, and radiologist awareness of CT radiation more than a decade later. Methods: Adults presenting to the emergency department of a tertiary care center over a 2-week period with mild to moderate pain requiring an abdominopelvic CT scan were surveyed. Patients were asked if anyone had discussed the risks/benefits of the CT scan including radiation dose and were asked to estimate their dose compared to a chest X-ray. Emergency providers and radiologists were given similar surveys and were asked about potential obstacles to discussing CT radiation with patients. Results: A total of 101 patients, 570 emergency providers, and 161 radiologists were surveyed. Twenty-three percent (14/61) of patients, 39% (219/568) of emergency providers, and 48% (77/161) of radiologists correctly selected the radiation dose range of an abdominopelvic CT. Seventy-eight percent (441/567) of emergency providers reported routinely discussing radiation dose with patients, while 20% (20/98) of patients reported that their emergency provider discussed radiation dose with them. Time limitation and concern of dissuading the patient from CT were the most commonly reported obstacles for discussing risks. Conclusions: Patients and providers in 2015 appear to be more aware of radiation dose from CT than they were in 2004. Discussion of CT scan radiation exposure and associated risks only occurs sometimes and may actually occur less frequently than perceived by emergency providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalEmergency Radiology
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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