Developing an action plan for patient radiation safety in adult cardiovascular medicine
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- Douglas, P.S., Carr, J.J., Cerqueira, M.D. et al. J. Nucl. Cardiol. (2012) 19: 534. doi:10.1007/s12350-012-9545-6
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Technological advances and increased utilization of medical testing and procedures have prompted greater attention to ensuring the patient safety of radiation use in the practice of adult cardiovascular medicine. In response, representatives from cardiovascular imaging societies, private payers, government and nongovernmental agencies, industry, medical physicists, and patient representatives met to develop goals and strategies toward this end; this report provides an overview of the discussions. This expert “think tank” reached consensus on several broad directions including: the need for broad collaboration across a large number of diverse stakeholders; clarification of the relationship between medical radiation and stochastic events; required education of ordering and providing physicians, and creation of a culture of safety; development of infrastructure to support robust dose assessment and longitudinal tracking; continued close attention to patient selection by balancing the benefit of cardiovascular testing and procedures against carefully minimized radiation exposures; collation, dissemination, and implementation of best practices; and robust education, not only across the healthcare community but also to patients, the public, and media. Finally, because patient radiation safety in cardiovascular imaging is complex, any proposed actions need to be carefully vetted (and monitored) for possible unintended consequences.