Ionizing radiation

Medical radiation exposure


Medical imaging specialists call for global referral guidelines  

Key representatives of the world's leading medical imaging societies have recommended that a common set of global referral guidelines for appropriate use of medical imaging be produced in the first such global meeting of experts convened under WHO auspices in nearly two decades.

Experts from international, regional and national professional societies as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Commission, met  in a WHO-hosted consultation on the issue in Geneva, 1-3 March, 2010. This follows the launch in 2008 of the WHO Global Initiative on Radiation Safety in Health Care Settings (Global Initiative).

Diagnostic imaging and interventional radiology procedures are increasingly used to accurately diagnose a wide range of illnesses and injuries. But inappropriate use of such technologies can lead to unnecessary exposures.

The 36 experts agreed upon a roadmap for the guidelines' development and implementation, as well as monitoring how such guidance is used.

"Reduction of unnecessary radiation exposure by justification of radiological medical procedures is a major goal for the Global Initiative. Such a referral tool developed in collaboration with major expert agencies and institutions will contribute to that goal", says Dr Maria Neira, Director of WHO's Department of Public Health and Environment (PHE).

"This is a major collaboration towards a more coherent, global approach to promote an appropriate use of medical imaging and interventional radiology procedures." said Dr Lawrence Lau, Chairman of the International Radiology Quality Network (IRQN).

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