Any time a physician orders a nuclear imaging scan, there is always concern about radiation exposure. Thankfully, today’s technology is making it possible to reduce that exposure in appropriate cases. If you are considering the implementation of a low-dose protocol, you’ll need to evaluate three major issues within your practice: proper patient segmentation, commitment, and technology.
Proper patient segmentation is a large part of implementing a low-dose protocol because each patient is a unique combination of age, weight, shape and medical history. Did you know that ASNC estimates half of the patient population falls under the appropriate criteria for low-dose? Following the ASNC guidelines can help physicians decide when to reduce radiation exposure in order to optimize patient care.
It only takes one physician to publicly advocate low-dose imaging to get the conversation started. With this progressive thinking, however, your practice will have to collectively adopt a new low-dose culture. The physicians, both referring and reading, must be committed to a low-dose protocol in order to successfully implement the change. It will require further education, training, leadership, discipline and diligence along with a “can-do” attitude from all parties.
With a low-dose protocol, the goal is to acquire an image with sufficient quality for maintaining diagnostic accuracy. Maintaining image quality while reducing the patient dose is a challenge but new technology makes it possible. A multi-head camera, combined with nSPEED reconstruction software and Tru-ACQ Count Based Imaging provides fast acquisition times with the lowest appropriate dose. These technological advances will help you establish a low-dose protocol, all while keeping the safety of the patient as the top priority.
The decision to implement a low-dose protocol is an important step for both you and your patients. Keep in mind that not every patient is required to be low-dose for your practice to be considered a low-dose lab. In the end, it’s about lowering the radiation burden to your patients more than you are now.
Here are links to additional resources supporting a low-dose protocol: