Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Screening patients with multi-detector computed axial tomography (MDCT): when will we inform patients about the risk of radiation?
  1. Jerry R Baskerville
  1. Dr J R Baskerville, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555-1173, USA; jerry{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Most patients never worry about radiation exposure when having medical imaging procedures and have limited accurate knowledge about radiation sources or equivalent risks.1 Physicians also appear to be largely unaware of the risks involved in subjecting patients to multi-detector computed tomographic (MDCT) scanning, with only 9% of referring physicians and 47% of radiologists aware of the increased risk of cancer from MDCT radiation dosage.2 The enhancement of patient and physician knowledge of radiation exposure is essential and critical. The National Academy of Science report on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BIER VII) estimated that a single population dose of 10 mSv is associated with a lifetime risk for developing a solid cancer or leukaemia by 1 in 1000 exposures.3

Our level 1 trauma centre emergency department recently installed a General Electric Lightspeed VCT MDCT scanner. This scanner has the ability to display the milligray (mGy)i and dose-length product (DLP) of each CT scan performed. We have found that, on average, the radiation exposure for trauma screening tests are: CT head, 70.42 mGy; CT …

View Full Text


  • Competing interests: None.

  • i Milligray: unit of absorbed radiation equal to 0.001 gray (a gray is the dose of 1 Joule of energy absorbed per kg matter, or 100 rad).

Linked Articles

  • Primary survey
    Jonathan Wyatt