A campaign initiated by a US nuclear medicine society and a radiation safety alliance has been designed to encourage community hospitals, academic hospitals, and clinics to comply with new North American guidelines for nuclear medicine radiopharmaceutical dose in children.
The dose recommendations, calculated on a “straight” weight basis, have been assessed in children’s hospitals and are compatible with high-quality imaging and additional dose reduction in the first decades of life.
The Image Gently campaign and the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM; Reston, VA, USA) have launched the “Go with the Guidelines.” “Standardization helps ensure that all pediatric nuclear medicine providers consistently get quality medical images while using the lowest amount of radiation possible. I can’t encourage nuclear medicine providers strongly enough to take advantage of this very important tool,” said S. Ted Treves, MD, strategy leader of the Image Gently/SNM initiative and chief of nuclear Medicine and molecular imaging at Children’s Hospital Boston.
With the launch of the “Go With the Guidelines” campaign, the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging echoes this central Image Gently message: As children may be more sensitive to medical radiation than adults, and cumulative radiation exposure to their smaller bodies could, over time, have adverse effects, radiologists who perform nuclear medicine imaging exams on children, are urged to follow the North American guidelines for pediatric nuclear medicine and determine the appropriate radiopharmaceutical dose based on body weight.
“The new guidelines are a great accomplishment. The priority now, is to focus on bringing these guidelines to the attention of the rest of the nuclear medicine community, especially to medical practitioners in our general hospitals. We want everyone to perform quality nuclear medicine with the least amount of radiation delivered to the patient as possible,” explained Frederic H. Fahey, DSc, president-elect of SNM and director of physics in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging at Children’s Hospital Boston (MA, USA).
To encourage awareness, Image Gently and SNM are distributing thousands of 28x35.5-cm posters that remind medical practitioners to use these new guidelines for 11 frequently performed imaging studies in children. Posters are provided at no cost and can be found inside various medical imaging journals the fall of 2011. “The new poster and dose recommendations should be helpful in reducing dose in hospitals and clinics, especially in facilities that perform limited numbers of nuclear medicine procedures in children,” said Michael J. Gelfand, MD, past president of SNM and chief of nuclear medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (OH, USA).
A companion Image Gently/SNM publication, “What You Should Know About Pediatric Nuclear Medicine and Radiation Safety,” can help families gain a better understanding of the complicated aspects involved in providing safe, effective nuclear medicine scanning to children.
“The development and dissemination of effective dose-lowering guidelines such as these is of utmost importance. Radiologic technologists interact directly with the patients to carry out these life-saving exams. I strongly urge all ASRT members who practice in the nuclear medicine field to become familiar with the new guidelines and make sure others are aware of them as well,” said Dawn McNeil, MSM, RT(R)(M), RDMS, RVT, CRA, president of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT).
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging