Contrôle review #192 : Controlling exposure to ionising radiation in the medical imaging fields
ASN has been regulating medical applications of ionising radiation for nearly 10 years. After implementing an entirely new set of regulations for radiation protection of patients (2000-2005), it focused its inspection programme in 2007 on the safety of radiotherapy care and then, as of 2008, began to look at interventional radiology and the various medical procedures which are making increasing use of ionising radiation to guide the practitioner's hand (in surgery, cardiology and neurology for example).
From now on, controlling the increasing exposure linked to computed tomography examinations is a new priority for ASN.
For the first time, Contrôle reviews the state of radiation protection in the medical field. It underlines the progress already achieved in enhancing the safety of radiotherapy procedures and spotlights the progress still needed in order to control exposure to ionising radiation in the medical imaging fields.
There is broad agreement on this need for progress, in the fields of computed tomography and interventional procedures, as highlighted by several articles in this issue of Contrôle from both professionals and health institutions. This issue is also illustrated by a number of articles showing the significant reductions in the doses delivered to patients that can be achieved when the professionals become proactive on this topic.
As was the case with radiotherapy, the mobilisation of institutions, professionals and manufacturers remains a precondition for any real application of the principles of justification of procedures and optimisation of the doses delivered to the patients by medical imaging, but also those received by the health professionals carrying out radiation guided procedures. Through the ties it has forged with these various stakeholders, ASN is focusing on implementing the various measures already identified, or having them implemented, in order to achieve real control of medical exposure. Appropriate involvement of "informed consumers" of radiology examinations, potential patients, is now an objective in its own right for ASN.