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Doctor discussing CT scans with a parent and child

Doctor discussing CT scans with a parent and child
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CT scans - information for referrers

2-minute read

In Australia, recent data show there are over 80,000 computed tomography (CT) scans performed annually on children and young people under the age of 20.

CT is a valuable investigative technique because it provides a low risk, non-invasive, fast and accurate method of diagnosing serious injury and illness.

However, CT also comes with an increased exposure to ionising radiation which has been linked to a slight increased risk of cancer.

Doctors and other health care professionals who refer children and young people for CT scans should be aware of this risk and discuss it with the patient and the parent or carer.

General information

Clinical decision support tools

  • The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has developed an online learning module, Radiation Protection of the Patient for referrers of medical imaging. Australian GPs who complete the module may be able to earn CPD points for undertaking the training.
  • The Western Australian Department of Health has developed a clinical decision support tool and educational resource for diagnostic imaging, WA Diagnostic Imaging Pathways. This resource has been endorsed by RANZCR.
  • RANZCR has developed Education Modules for Appropriate Imaging Referrals which are designed for use in a health professional’s early career. The modules include detailed explanations of the evidence base, providing the background to, and demonstrating the appropriate use of, clinical decision rules.

More information

Learn more here about CT scans and radiation exposure in children and young people.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2021

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