In response to the recently published article by Pearce et al (Lancet DOI 10.1016/S01400736(12)60815-0) concerning the potential risks of cancer in children undergoing multiple CT scans, the ASPNR continues, along with organizations including the Society of Pediatric Radiology and the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, to advocate for the appropriate utilization of CT scans using pediatric optimized technique in children. Concern about the safety related to the use of ionizing radiation with CT should be balanced with the demonstrated value of CT in management of multiple medical conditions. As the Lancet article notes, during the period studied in the UK from 1985-2002 CT scanners used higher radiation levels than would generally be used now, particularly in children. Before their child undergoes a CT scan, parents should be encouraged to ask how the exam will contribute to their child’s medical management, if pediatric optimized radiation doses will be used and if there is an alternate study that does not require the use of ionizing radiation that might be appropriate for their child.

For additional information on the role of CT in the management of medical conditions in children, these links may be of interest:

http://www.acr.org/News-Publications/News/News-Articles/2012/Quality-Care/20120606-Pediatric-CT-Scans-Save-Lives-When-Used-Appropriately

http://www.pedrad.org/associations/5364/files/Image_Gently_8.5x11_Brochure2pg.pdf

Letter to parents regarding medical imaging in children from the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging.