Media Advisory

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NIH summit to focus on management of radiation dose in computerized tomography

Emphasis toward the Sub-mSv CT exam.


Members of the media are invited to attend a National Institutes of Health conference focused on transforming computed tomography (CT) technology and its use to achieve minimal public health risks from radiation exposure. A specific goal of this conference is to identify the technological steps and associated research required to reduce the radiation dose from routine CT exams to less than 1 mSv (millisievert, the unit used to measure the amount of ionizing radiation absorbed by human tissues). Additional goals in the near-term are improving our understanding and management of radiation exposure, and defining steps to achieve best technical and clinical practices.


It is estimated that approximately 70 million CT scans were performed in the United States in 2009 — three-fold increase in the number performed ten years ago. While CT scans are an invaluable tool in the noninvasive detection and staging of disease and injury, attention has now turned to the potential cancer risks associated with the overuse of these scans, and whether or not these risks can be reduced. Although most patients receive relatively low doses of radiation from CT scans, patient doses can vary many fold due to factors such as the type of CT scanner, the protocols and machine settings used for the exam, the number of scans, the patient’s body size, the part of the body examined, specific clinical requirements, and even occasional errors in the imaging process. For instance, according to, an American College of Radiology and Radiological Society of North America joint website, the effective radiation dose for a CT scan has been estimated to be approximately16 mSv for the abdomen; for the head, 2 mSv; and for the chest, 7 mSv. For perspective, the approximate effective radiation dose from a typical chest x-ray is 0.1 mSv, while a mammogram is 0.4 mSv. This conference will look at ways to improve our understanding and management of radiation exposure, as well as the steps necessary to achieve lower dose exams (sub-mSv) without compromising the diagnostic quality of the CT exam.


February 24-25, 2011


Bethesda North Marriott, 5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda, MD

Additional Information:

This conference is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Coalition for Imaging and Bioengineering Research (CIBR).

The full agenda and additional details about the meeting are posted on the web at


Media interested in attending the meeting can contact Dr. Tom Johnson at 301-451-4790 or e-mail your request to

NIBIB, a component of NIH, is dedicated to improving health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. Additional information and publications are available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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