Frequently Asked Questions about Interventional Radiology - Press
Medical professionals Parents
What is The Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging?
The Alliance is an international consortium of professional societies who are concerned about the radiation exposure children receive when undergoing medical imaging and interventional procedures. Currently, 41 societies representing the fields of radiology, pediatrics, and medical physics and radiation safety are involved. The Alliance recognizes the often life-saving value of medical imaging and intervention. However, techniques used in pediatric interventional procedures may not be tailored to children’s smaller bodies, resulting in radiation exposures that are greater than necessary.
Do children really undergo many Interventional Radiology (IR) procedures?
With advances in minimally invasive technology and education, IR procedures are increasingly performed in children to help diagnose or treat medical illness. Especially in children with chronic diseases, the number of IR procedures may be significant over their lifetime. Interventional radiation is the third largest contributor to medical radiation dose in the USA, after CT and nuclear medicine.
Does imaging radiation really pose a risk to children?
The amount of radiation that people are receiving from medical sources is increasing, and this includes children. It is difficult to show directly that radiation doses from medical procedures lead directly to cancer. However, good data from other sources of exposure show that there are increased cancers in people who have been exposed to radiation at levels now encountered by some patients undergoing many interventional procedures. This is particularly important in children, whose tissues are more radiosensitive, who receive a larger effective dose for a given level of radiation, and who have a longer time to develop cancers resulting from radiation exposure. For any one person, the risk of death from cancer is about 1 in 5. While estimates vary, the risk from an interventional procedure is a small additional fraction of a person’s total risk. The risk is cumulative, however, and each subsequent procedure may increase the risk accordingly. While for any one individual the increased risk is very small, given the many procedures performed, the risk to the population as a whole is much larger.
Where can I find out more information about The Alliance and these issues?
Links to other useful sites and information sources can be found on this website. Specific questions or interview requests should be directed through the “Contact Us” section of this website.