Long-term Sequelae of Radiation Exposure due to Computed Tomography in Childhood


Computed tomography (CT) plays an important role in the diagnosis and management of disease and injury. The long-term risks of CT are unknown but children represent a susceptible group for radiation-related cancer. This study will provide a unique opportunity to assess the safety of CT scans in children and to gain more information on a potentially important risk factor for cancer in children and young adults.

Detailed electronic information on 200,000 patients (<18 years) scanned using CT prior to 2003 will be collected. This information, including radiological, clinical and demographic details, will be downloaded from the information systems in radiology departments in England and Wales and linked with the National Health Service Central Registry so that cancer and mortality information can be obtained.

A cohort analysis of all 200,000 patients will assess cancer risk in relation to a radiation dose estimated by an expert dosimetrist. A nested case-control study will involve the abstraction of more detailed information, including scan parameters, to allow estimation of doses.

The study will also spearhead a planned international study of the long-term risks associated with CT.  The study protocol can be downloaded here.

Click here to find out more about the study and who is involved.