GE, Siemens among top CT scan-makers to pledge tighter safety controls

The top five CT scan manufacturers are about to install more stringent safety controls after numerous reports of patients receiving potentially lethal doses of radiation.

In the most recent case, CoxHealth of Springfield, Mo., said that physician error caused 76 patients to receive 50 percent more radiation than prescribed. Most of the patients were undergoing treatment for brain cancer with a stereotactic radiation therapy system. 

The doctor at CoxHealth, which uses BrainLAB's stereotactic system, allegedly "chose the wrong measurement device--called a chamber" CoxHealth senior vice president John Duff said in a statement. The doctor no longer works for the hospital and the BrainLAB program has been suspended pending the outcome of an independent analysis, he said. 

The new safeguards, announced by the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance, a trade organization, will be implemented later this year on machines made by General Electric, Siemens, Toshiba, Royal Philips Electronics and Hitachi. The alliance also plans to create a universal format for recording radiation doses. "The dose information would be saved in a standard format, making it easier to integrate the information into a national dose registry," said Dave Fisher, the group's executive director. 

To learn more:
- read this CoxHealth press release
- check out this Reuters article