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Trauma patients receiving massive radiation doses from scans

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Multi-trauma patients often receive radiation doses from CT scans equivalent to 1,000 chest x-rays, say US researchers.

Researchers assessed 86 patients who were treated after traffic accidents at a US trauma centre. Patients received an average of three CT scans during the first 24 hours of care, with an average dose of 40 millisieverts of ionised radiation.

This is compared to the three millisieverts of background radiation that most people are exposed to on average every year.

‘Although radiographic studies are an important part of the trauma evaluation, they should be used judiciously, with the goal of minimising the patient’s exposure to ionizing radiation,’ the authors said in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It has to remembered that this relates to the USA where in my experience of working in a Boston Trauma Center - CAT scans were far more common than they are in the UK.

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