Kids and CT scans

CT scans for children face more scrutiny
imageHannah Story, 2, of Cahokia, gets a CT scan Monday at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “One size does not fit all’’ when it comes to testing children, a pediatric radiologist says. (Laurie Skrivan/P-D)

By Michele Munz

Every day, about 19,000 children in the United States get a CT scan, which carries a radiation level equivalent to 30 to 442 chest X-rays.

The booming use of the scans along with research showing their overuse and link to cancer has experts launching initiatives to ensure patients are exposed to the least amount of radiation possible. Particular concern has focused on the unique threats the tests pose to children.

A child’s growing body is more sensitive to radiation. Organs can be needlessly exposed because of their closer proximity. Kids have a longer lifespan for cancer to develop from a damaged cell. And children are often scanned using adult dosing techniques.

“One size does not fit all,” when it comes to testing children, said Dr. Steven Don, pediatric radiologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “Each child needs to be individualized. I don’t think of children as ‘little adults.’ ” <SCRIPT language=’JavaScript1.1′ SRC=”;abr=!ie;sz=300×250;ord=[object 0]?”> </SCRIPT> <NOSCRIPT> <A HREF=”;abr=!ie4;abr=!ie5;sz=300×250;ord=[object 1]?”> <IMG SRC=”;abr=!ie4;abr=!ie5;sz=300×250;ord=[object 2]?” BORDER=0 WIDTH=300 HEIGHT=250 ALT=”Click Here”></A> </NOSCRIPT>
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