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High Resolution CT scan

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  • High Resolution CT scan

    I’ve been told I need to have a high resolution CT scan and told I need to stop breastfeeding as the amount of radiation I will absorb whilst lactating is much higher than a non-lactating woman. Do you know if this is true? They seemed concerned that my cancer risk would be much higher but also said that baby would absorb some of it (the latter part regarding this to baby seems like it’s not true from my research), is it true that I need to stop breastfeeding in order to not massively increase my own cancer risk? The other issue is they will scan 6 weeks after I stop breastfeeding when surely I will still be lactating small amounts anyway?

  • #2

    Apparently, the amount of radiation absorbed following HRCT scanning of the chest is actually less than than that from a typical CT scan. See below.

    As this procedure uses X-rays, which pass through the body and do not stay, they do not "transfer" or stay in human milk.

    CT scans as a whole are not at all contraindicated in a breastfeeding woman and are used all the time in breastfeeding mothers with and without contrast agent. I tried and failed to find anything about higher "doses" absorbed in a breastfeeding mother. In essence, I couldn't find anything published confirming this statement.

    Tom Hale Ph.D.
    InfantRisk Center


    AJR Am J Roentgenol. ([url][/url]) 1993 Mar;160(3):479-81. High-resolution CT of the chest: radiation dose.

    Mayo JR ([url] id=8430539[/url])1, Jackson SA ([url] r_uid=8430539[/url]), Müller NL ([url] uthor_uid=8430539[/url]). Author information ([url][/url])

    1 Department of Radiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Abstract


    The purpose of this study was to compare the skin radiation dose to the chest produced by high-resolution CT (HRCT) with the radiation dose produced by conventional CT. Previous studies have reported that radiation doses with HRCT are equal to or higher than those with conventional CT. These results, however, were based on the assumption that in HRCT, contiguous sections were scanned without the intersection gaps of 10 or 20 mm that are used clinically. SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

    We used radiotherapy verification film to measure the skin radiation dose in 56 patients who had chest CT scans. Twenty-two had 1.5-mm collimation HRCT scans at 10-mm intervals, 15 had 1.5-mm collimation HRCT scans at 20-mm intervals, and 19 had 10-mm collimation conventional CT scans at 10-mm intervals. Scan parameters were identical in all cases: 120 kVp, 200 mA, 2 sec. Step wedges were used to generate calibration films with identical beam quality on the CT scanner, and exposure was measured with an ionization chamber. Calibration films and patients' radiotherapy verification films were digitized, and the radiation dose was calculated. RESULTS:

    Mean skin radiation dose was 4.4 (standard error [SE], 0.2) mGy for 1.5-mm HRCT scans at 10-mm intervals, 2.1 (SE, 0.1) mGy at 20-mm intervals, and 36.3 (SE, 0.9) mGy for conventional 10-mm scans at 10-mm intervals. CONCLUSION:

    HRCT scanning at 10- and 20-mm intervals produced 12% and 6%, respectively, of the radiation dose associated with conventional CT. This is considerably less radiation than suggested in earlier studies. Combining HRCT scans at 20-mm intervals with low-dose scan (20 mA, 2-sec scans) would result in an average skin dose comparable with the dose administered with chest radiography. PMID: 8430539 DOI: 10.2214/ajr.160.3.8430539 ([url][/url]) [Indexed for MEDLINE]