By Maggie Mertens
Since it was revealed back in October that Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles slipped up when it came to radiation doses during hundreds of CT scans, the Food and Drug Administration has found the overdoses are more widespread than first thought.
FDA noted that cases it has found in its ongoing investigation aren't limited to GE scanners alone."While we do not know yet the full scope of the concern, facilities should take reasonable steps to double-check their approach," Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, acting director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health said in a statement.
After working with "state and local health authorities," FDA found at least 50 more patients who received excess radiation during this type of scan at Cedars-Sinai. And it seems like the problem is not just theirs.
After the FDA's first report on the issue, Cedars-Sinai admitted to having accidentally exposed more than 200 patients to up to eight times the normal amount of radiation during a CT perfusion scan, normally used to diagnose a stroke. The excess radiation was enough to cause 80 of the patients to report losing hair, and 20 percent of patients to be at higher risk of developing cataracts.
During its investigation, FDA heard reports from other places about more possible overdoses. And two weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times reported on at least one other hospital in LA County that accidentally exposed patients to three to four times the correct amount of radiation (about half the amount found at Cedars): Glendale Adventist.
Glendale reported having exposed ten patients to too much radiation this year in the same way it seemed the slip-up happened at Cedars. A hospital technician reprogrammed the General Electric scanners with new instructions, though the Glendale Adventist scanner had been programmed by a GE technician, according to the report in the LA Times.
While the investigation continues, FDA has come up with some recommendations to minimize radiation risks for hospitals performing CT perfusion scans.