Introduction Patients with CF can expect to undergo many investigations using ionising radiation for the management of their disease: now that the majority of patients will survive well into their 5th decade, life-time exposure to such radiation, a known risk factor for the development of malignancy, may be important. To investigate this further, we looked at the amount of ionising radiation given in our adult CF clinic over a 1-year period.
Methods All imaging studies associated with ionising radiation in 253 adult CF patients were reviewed and assessed for their impact on management. Radiation was calculated using standard reference doses1–3 and expressed as (milliSievert [mSv]), also referred to as the effective dose.
Results A summary of the results can be found in the Abstract P239 table 1. There was an average annual radiation dose of 1.66 mSv with 54% of studies leading to a change in management. Overall, although only 11% of chest x-rays altered patient management, patients with more severe CF disease (DIOS, CFRD and infection with transmissible Pseudomonas strains) had a greater cumulative radiation dose and this was more likely to alter management.
Conclusions Although the CF population receives a significant dose of radiation from medical investigations each year, many impact on patient management. CFRD, DIOS and infection with transmissible Pseudomonas are associated with greater levels of radiation than the average CF population, in keeping with more significant disease burden in these individuals. Care should be taken when ordering investigations associated with ionising radiation, to reduce the long term effects, as life expectancy is increasing.