Nigerian Journal of Medicine

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Clinical practitioners' knowledge of ionizing radiation doses in diagnostic radiology examinations in Calabar

N.O. Egbe, D.U. Eduwem, O.E. Ukweh, C.H. Odumegwu


Background: Observation has shown a preponderance of irrelevant, unjustified and perhaps unnecessary radiological requests in the study area. The consequences of this on the patients' doses and population collective dose may be dire.

Objective: To assess Clinicians/Referrers' knowledge of radiation doses of patients undergoing radiological examinations.

Methodology: A prospective, non-experimental, cross-sectional survey of clinicians (except radiologists) in various hospitals in Calabar metropolis, Cross River State, Nigeria, was conducted. A pretested and validated questionnaire was designed to extract responses on rating of effective doses for commonly requested imaging examinations, using the value for the posterior-anterior (PA) chest x-ray as reference. Questions on radiosensitivity of different organs, imaging modalities that use ionizing radiation and considerations for the choice of ionizing radiation (IR) based examinations were included. Participants were also asked for their preferred methods of filling any knowledge gap on IR issues. Responses were presented in simple percentages.

Results: A total of 104 respondents, made up of 63.5% males and 36.5% females participated in the study. At least 70% and 42% of the respondents, respectively, were aware that Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging were not IR based modalities. About 67.3% of the respondents did not know the doses of commonly requested radiological examinations. This result was not dependent on clinicians' demography. A total of 61.5% of the respondents referred patients for IR examinations even when the result was unlikely to alter their diagnosis or treatment; but to reassure the patient (98.8% ), meet expectations of patients (35%) or to give the patient the feeling of being taken seriously (75%).

Conclusion: Participating Clinicians in this study have showed poor knowledge of radiation doses of commonly requested radiological examinations. Most participants suggested improvement of their knowledge of radiation doses through continuous medical education and by the provision of referral guidelines.

Keywords: Clinicians, Ionizing radiation, radiology, practitioners, knowledge.

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