Radiation Exposure High for Patients With GI Disorders

High levels of annual, total exposure in patients with Crohn's, organic and functional disorders

TUESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with inflammatory bowel disorders and other organic and functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are exposed to high levels of annual and cumulative diagnostic radiation, according to a study published in the March issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Alan N. Desmond, M.B., B.Med.Sc., of the Cork University Hospital in Ireland, and colleagues evaluated data from 2,509 patients diagnosed with gastrointestinal disorders between 1999 and 2009 to quantify the estimated annual and cumulative effective dose (CED) of radiation each patient received based on the diagnostic imaging studies performed.

The researchers found that 57 percent of patients underwent diagnostic imaging. There was a significantly increased likelihood of high annual CEDs among patients with Crohn's disease, organic small bowel disease, and functional disorders of childhood and adolescence (odds ratio [OR], 5.3, 2.6, and 9.8, respectively). There was a significantly increased likelihood of high total CEDs among patients with Crohn's disease (OR, 81.9), ulcerative or indeterminate colitis (OR, 19.0 and 7.5, respectively), organic small bowel or hepatic disorders (OR, 12.5 and 3.6, respectively), and functional disorders of childhood and adolescence (OR, 13.8).

"The last decade has seen significant increases in the amount of diagnostic radiation to which patients with GI disorders attending specialist centers are exposed," the authors write. "Given the likely deleterious effects of exposure to ionizing radiation and the age and gender profile of patients in these disease categories, there is a clear need for evidence-based guidelines on the use of diagnostic imaging in patients with organic and functional GI disorders."

The study was partially supported by a grant from Abbott Pharmaceuticals.

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