Officials: Unnecessary CT scans put kids at risk

CAT scan (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/liz west). (CAT scan (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/liz west))

The number of CT scans performed on children increased by roughly 80 percent compared to 2005, according to a study done by the RIVM. A 2013 study by the institute into the risk to children when exposed to ionizing radiation, showed that children who have undergone a CT scan have a greater risk of getting cancer than previously thought.

According to the RIVM, children are more sensitive to ionizing radiation than adults, because children have more rapidly dividing cells than adults. They also have more years of life left than adults, which means that effects have more time to appear.

This latest study shows that hospitals have different procedures when it comes to children receiving radiological procedures. In children's hospitals there are special child protocols for procedures such as CT scans, which are not always present general hospitals. Children hospitals and general hospitals also use different radiation shielding measures.

About half of the hospitals do not compare doses to the so called diagnostic reference levels for children - which indicate what dose is acceptable to a child and will still deliver a good radiological image.