Referring doctors knowledge about radiation doses in patients undergoing common radiological examinations

Full Length Research Paper

Referring doctors knowledge about radiation doses in patients undergoing common radiological examinations

A. Ahidjo, I. Garba, Z. Mustapha, A.M. Abubakar, U.A .Usman

1Department of Radiology University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, Nigeria

2Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria

Accepted December 29th, 2013

In the present day scenario, radiation dose from medical imaging has come under scrutiny both in the medical and public press. This is as a result of the increased cancer risks associated with radiation as well as cases of excess radiation exposure from advance radiological equipment like CT scans. Therefore, this study assessed doctors’ knowledge on patients’ radiation doses during radiological investigations on medical imaging equipment namely: conventional x-ray machine, CT, mammography, MRI and ultrasound in two tertiary institutions. This was a prospective study conducted at Maiduguri North Eastern Nigeria. A questionnaire was designed and distributed to all cadres of medical doctors apart from Radiologists. Radiological investigations were listed, and participants were asked to estimate equivalent doses using the dose of postero-anterio chest x-ray as a reference. Questions on knowledge of hazard of radiation, radiation measurement units, and use of referral guidelines were also included. A total score was aggregated for each question. A total of 81 questionnaires were distributed, and 65(80.2%) were returned. The participants that indicated their gender consist of 33.2% females and 64.6% males. Most of the doctors 96.9% are aware of radiation hazard, but only 38.5% knew its units of measurement. However, 58.5% are not aware of referral guidelines for imaging, and also 80% are unable to estimate doses for most of the radiological examinations. Only 14% of the doctors knew that MRI does not use ionizing radiation. The findings of the study revealed that most of the doctors are aware of radiation hazard, but did not know the amount of radiation dose received by their patients during radiological investigations. There is need to train doctors on radiation protection and its inclusion in the curriculum of medical schools especially in the developing countries where regulation may be poor. The introduction of referral guidelines is pertinent to success of radiation protection.

Keywords: Doctors, Radiation, Knowledge, Radiological Examinations, Nigeria.