Radiation Protection of Children
EuroSafe Imaging pays special attention to the radiation protection of children. This is partly due to the fact that children are more sensitive to ionising radiation and also have longer lifespan after exposure, meaning that there is a greater risk of developing radiation induced cancer later in life. As action 7 of the EuroSafe Imaging Call for Action 2018 states, EuroSafe Imaging aims to develop guidance on the radiation protection of children as well as develop ways to improve communication with patients and parents/carers in this area.
To find out more information on why radiation protection of children is so important and read about the work that EuroSafe Imaging is doing in this area, please read EuroSafe Imaging’s leaflet on the medical radiation protection of children.
EuroSafe Imaging statement on the EPI-CT study
The EuroSafe Imaging Paediatric Imaging working group has issued a statement on the recently published results of the EPI-CT study, linking head and neck CT scans of children and young adults to an increased risk of developing brain cancer.
The study reinforces the role of the two mainstays of radiation protection of patients: justification and optimisation. Additionally, the study demonstrates the importance of efforts made by initiatives, such as EuroSafe Imaging, to create a culture of safety in radiology. You can read the full statement here.
Additionally, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine have also issued a response to the EPI-CT study, highlighting their concerns about alarmist portrayal of CT scans, which is available here.
What Patients Should Know
One of EuroSafe Imaging’s aims is to improve information for patients and parents/carers. To support this aim, the Ask EuroSafe Imaging working group regularly produces publications called ‘What Patients Should Know’. Several of these editions focus on paediatric radiology, which are all available here.
EuroSafe Imaging regularly organises webinars covering key radiation protection topics. Our 2020 webinar series included 3 episodes on paediatric imaging topics, which can be watched on demand, for free, here.
Paediatric Imaging Tips & Tricks
Ask EuroSafe Imaging also has a paediatric imaging sub-group that regularly publishes short online educational material for professionals called ‘Tips and Tricks’. These publications are all available for free here, or can be accessed on the ESRs Education on Demand Platform as CME-accredited courses.
EuroSafe Imaging organises an annual poster exhibition to give stakeholders the opportunity to showcase their efforts to improve quality and safety in medical imaging and demonstrate their support for EuroSafe Imaging. For 2020, there was a special focus on safety in paediatric imaging.
- European Diagnostic Reference Levels for Paediatric Imaging (PiDRL): The PiDRL project was intended to provide European DRLs for paediatric examinations and to promote their use so as to advance the optimisation of radiation protection of paediatric patients, with a focus on CT, interventional procedures using fluoroscopy, and digital radiographic imaging.
- The World Health Organization’s (WHO), publication on communicating radiation risks in paediatric imaging is intended to serve as a tool for health care providers to communicate known or potential radiation risks associated with paediatric imaging procedures, to support risk-benefit dialogue in health care settings.
- IAEA Radiation Protection of Patients Unit has published frequently asked questions on the radiation protection of children in radiology.
- The IAEA’s Radiation Protection in Paediatric Radiology publication provides guidance to radiologists, other clinicians and radiographers/technologists involved in using ionising radiation for diagnostic procedures with children and adolescents:
- The Image Gently Alliance: Image Gently is a coalition of health care organizations dedicated to providing safe, high quality pediatric imaging worldwide. The primary objective of the Alliance is to raise awareness in the imaging community of the need to adjust radiation dose when imaging children. The ultimate goal of the Alliance is to change practice.