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Arch Hellen Med, 28(6), November-December 2011, 767-776


Medical, social and economic implications of computed tomography
and the evolution of multislice computed tomography scanners

Α. Morfonios, D. Kaitelidou, G. Baltopoulos, P. Myrianthefs
Department of Nursing, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Studies show that in the USA the radiation generated by computed tomography (CT) examinations causes annually 3,000 fatal cancers, while the increasing trend in its use reaches 10%, overloading the budget of society. The rapid developments in CT, with the introduction of multislice scanners, provide new applications with rapid, accurate conclusions, but this new technology delivers increased levels of radiation doses. A set of basic principles for the application of CT, including justification for examinations, optimisation of radiological protocols and education of health professionals on the dangers and the measurement of radiation, aim at the protection of society from the damaging consequences of radiation from a typical CT examination. Predictions of the installation of 88,000 new multislice CT scanners worldwide over the next decade make imperative the application of such basic principles, and the use of economic models aimed at cost effect assessment concerning their health benefits, such as the life cycle cost, is judged as a necessary tool for decision-making on the purchase of scanners. Greece has a high compound annual growth rate in the market of this particular technology, reaching 8%, and is in the first place in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries for annual rate of use, with 0.32 CT examinations per individual, when in the USA the rate is 0.18 per individual and in England 0.03 per individual. In view of this information, the introduction of legislation aimed at the reduction of the use of CT and the levels of radiation dosage of CT becomes imperative, as in California, where from 2012 the wrong radiation dose received by the patient will be penalized.

Key words: Computed tomography, Life cycle cost, Quality assurance.

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