One of the most useful tests for the doctor and the patient remains to this day, 40 years after its invention, the CT scan. Today, in fact, it can be performed with the least possible radiation, thanks to the Dose Excellence radiation dose optimization program, which is applied exclusively in Affidea diagnostic centers.
Computed Tomography (CT) is among the top five medical developments of the last 40 years, which has also earned its inventors the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1979. Today, it is considered an extremely reliable diagnostic technique, which with the use of X-Rays produces digitally processed images. The radiologist thus gains visual access to the anatomical structures of the human body and is able to diagnose a variety of medical conditions that may involve internal injuries, inflammation, vascular lesions or tumors. The medical information resulting from the CT scan will then be used by the patient’s treating physician, who can manage the situation more effectively through it. Initially, the need for surgical investigation is limited, while it can direct the treatment of injuries and traumas or heart diseases and strokes, while the contribution of CT in terms of the early diagnosis of malignant diseases is clear.
The ALARA principle in radiation protection
It is medically accepted that radiation dose from diagnostic imaging tests such as CT scans has been linked to a slight increase in the lifetime risk of developing cancer: each patient has a 1 to 5 lifetime chance of developing cancer of, while the risk from a CT scan is estimated to cause 1 in 1,000 chances respectively. The estimated risk varies considerably and depends on the age of the patient as well as the area of examination.
However, the use of radiation for diagnosis must be done for the benefit of the patient, minimizing any risks. This purpose is served by the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) Principle: the patient’s exposure to ionizing radiation should be as low as possible. Of course, this is done consistently with the original purpose, i.e. diagnosis, and taking into account technological progress, the function of improvements in relation to benefits to public health and safety, as well as other social criteria.
“Dose Excellence” Radiation Dose Optimization Program at Affidea Centers
In the Affidea diagnostic centers, the principle of ALARA is applied by developing a systematic approach regarding the management of radiation dose during CT. For this purpose, the Dose Excellence program was created, a Dose Optimization campaign, implemented exclusively by Affidea. Utilizing and investing in technological development, always for the benefit of the patient and through Dose Excellence, every CT scan performed at Affidea diagnostic centers is performed with the lowest possible radiation dose.
This goal is achieved by the specific radiation management policy implemented by Affidea: It uses effective means to continuously control radiation dose levels and determine the optimal dose accordingly, personalizing it according to the patient. This is done on the basis of specific parameters set by Dose Excellence and primarily concern the highly qualified medical staff, consisting of medical professionals, whose training has been designed in collaboration with the Medical Advisory Board (MAB) of the Affidea Group, which staffed by distinguished scientists.
At the same time, however, Affidea uses modern medical equipment, which is regularly maintained, replaced and upgraded according to strict corporate standards. Thorough quality checks are carried out by specialized medical staff, and DoseWatch™ software is installed to help monitor, record and adjust the radiation dose received by examinees during a CT scan.
To ensure the success of Dose Excellence, in addition, specific examination protocols for CT scans have been designed by a dedicated Radiation Protection Team to meet the high standards for patient safety in each Group center. Already, Dose Excellence has received multiple awards and distinctions from the medical community pan-European, most recently a very important distinction, in the context of highlighting the most important initiatives in the Healthcare sector at the Patient Partnerships Awards 2022. The Affidea Group is, after all, the only one at the level of primary care that implements a corresponding system, pan-European. The minimization of radiation dose levels is a commitment for the Affidea Group and is already implemented in two of the Group’s centers in Attica (Vari and Piraeus), but also in the center of Heraklion, Crete and Thessaloniki, while the program will soon be extended to all centers , nationwide.