Radiography is the most common type of diagnostic imaging examination performed and represents 85% of all ionizing exposure in children. Chest radiographs are the most common examination performed, followed by extremity imaging and spinal and abdominal examinations. Digital radiography (DR) has largely replaced film screen (FS) radiography, requiring healthcare providers performing these studies to understand and properly use this new technology. There are many advantages to DR in the pediatric population, but without careful attention, the exposure factors can increase over time. Pediatric patients present numerous challenges with their widely varying body sizes. Since little is known what effect lower radiation doses from DR have in pediatric patients, the healthcare community must be vigilant in applying the “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) principle and in justifying the imaging study to reduce exposure in children. The Image Gently initiative was established to promote radiation protection of children and to standardize the approach to pediatric DR. Image Gently provides helpful tools to maximize image quality and minimize radiation exposure in children. It is important for technologists to understand quality principles used to ensure safe and appropriate use of DR in the pediatric population.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Describe the advantages of digital radiography compared with film screen radiography.
- Identify issues unique to obtaining quality digital radiography images in pediatric patients.
- Define parameters used to standardize pediatric digital radiography.
Categories: Digital Radiography, Radiation Safety/Protection