Many patients lack knowledge and understanding of radiation exposure from medical imaging, according to a research letter published online Dec. 31 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Researchers surveyed 235 patients who underwent computed tomography and cardiac single photon emission computed tomography scans between February and December 2011.
Sixty-six percent said they were aware the scans would expose their bodies to radiation, and of these, 45 percent said they learned about it from the ordering physician. However, 95 percent “reported that it was more important to figure out what might be wrong than to worry about scan radiation.”
The survey also assessed how patients obtained health information. Sixty-nine percent said their health care provider is their main source of health care information, and more than half said they didn’t hear anything in the media in the last year about radiation from medical imaging.
Researchers noted several possible reasons patient knowledge about medical radiation is limited including providers’ limited knowledge of radiation and the difficulty explaining and understanding radiation exposure.