Change in scan policy to protect patients against radiation

Summary

Hospitals must use more MRI and PET scanners rather than CT scans, says public health minister, to protect patients from radiation

Government to invest in 12 new MRIs

Federal public health minister Laurette Onkelinx has announced a thorough revision of the standards for medical imaging, to better protect patients against the risks of radiation. An increase of devices for imaging via magnetic resonance (MRI, pictured) and of positron emission tomography (PET) scanners should decrease the number of CT (computed tomography) scans, which work with X-radiation.

Repeated exposure to ionising radiation can increase the risk of cancer. MRI scans don’t carry risks, but the current number of 109 recognised MRI devices in Belgium is insufficient for the needs today.

In a first phase, the government will invest in 12 new MRI devices. The number of PET scanners, which allow specialists to observe the biochemical working of an organ through the injection of a slightly radioactive substance, will rise from 13 to 24.

At the moment, a Belgian is on average exposed to one-and-a-half times more radiation than someone from France. The new standards should help to reach the French level.

Federal public health minister Laurette Onkelinx has announced a thorough revision of the standards for medical imaging, to better protect patients against the risks of radiation.

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