Radiation Risk from Medical Imaging in Children

  • Donald P. Frush
  • Kimberly E. Applegate

Key Points

■ Medical radiation currently accounts for an increasing percentage (approximately 50%) of the total radiation exposure for the US population (previously about 15%) (moderate evidence).

■ Children are 2–5 (some cite up to 10) times more sensitive to radiation than adults (moderate evidence).

■ There are no data that prove a direct link between low-level radiation from diagnostic imaging and cancer. The best data regarding long-term effects of low-level radiation (100–150 mSv) exposure come from the longitudinal survivor study (LSS) of atomic bomb survivors (moderate evidence).

■ Most major medical and scientific organizations accept the linear, no-threshold model as the preferred model for low-level radiation and cancer risk estimation.

■ The lifetime risk of fatal cancer from a single (relatively high dose) CT in a child has been estimated to be 1:1000 (limited to moderate evidence).


Hydroxyl Lymphoma Leukemia Fractionation Radionuclide 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald P. Frush
    • 1
  • Kimberly E. Applegate
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric Radiology, Department of RadiologyDuke Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

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