Imaging procedures are common and their use is increasing, leading to concerns about the safety for patients of exposure to low-dose ionising radiation. In a US study, over 900 000 adults were identified and utilisation data used to estimate the cumulative effective doses of radiation from imaging procedures. Doses were defined as low, medium or high, and data were used to calculate population-based rates of exposure. Procedures such as nuclear and computed tomography imaging contributed significantly to the total effective dose, despite being less common than plain radiographic procedures. Cumulative effective doses of radiation were higher in women and increased with age. The authors conclude that adults in the US are being exposed to substantial doses of ionising radiation and suggest health strategies are needed to address the safe use of these procedures.
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