FDA: Patients overexposed to radiation during perfusion CT imaging

The FDA has issued a warning suggesting that patients receiving perfusion CT imaging to help diagnose and treat stroke are getting far too big a dose of radiation. In fact, the agency found that over an 18-month period, 206 patients at one facility received radiation doses that were about eight times higher than expected levels. These large radiation doses led to side effects such as hair loss and erythema.

While these issues only involved one specific type of test at a single facility, the agency has concluded that their investigation still points to broader problems with CT quality assurance programs. Officials suggest that the problem may be under the radar in other settings, with patients getting inappropriately high doses, but not enough to produce obvious radiation injuries.

In its statement, the agency notes that while they believe radiation exposure is a significant issue, patients should still follow their doctor's orders when it comes to receiving CT scans. It also notes that a medically-appropriate CT scan typically has benefits that outweigh potential radiation risks.

To learn more about the FDA's recommendations:
- read this FDA statement

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