Embracing the ALARA principle - an acronym for keeping radiation exposure "as low as reasonably achievable" for needed results, Fanshawe College School of Health Sciences professor Liz Lorusso is being hailed internationally for her research on reducing radiation dose levels in x-rays.
Lorusso's study attests that today's advanced digital imaging technology no longer requires the same quantity of radiation as film-based x-ray images. Working in collaboration with London and area hospitals and capturing images using varying levels of x-ray radiation on phantom mannequins with human bone anatomy, Lorusso published astounding results.
"People are exposed to radiation through general x-ray imaging all the time, but using digital imaging we proved we could save patient dose by 50 to 75 per cent - without compromising diagnostic results," states Lorusso. "Working in tandem with clinical colleagues at health care campuses in London and beyond, we confirmed it is possible to use far lower doses of radiation, and this discovery reinforces the ALARA principle of every radiological professional."
Photo: Liz Lorusso presents her research at the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT) World Congress, Seoul, Korea in October, 2016.
Dr. Andrea Lum, city-wide chair and chief of the Department of Medical Imaging concurs, noting staff, leaders and radiologists at both London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph's Health Care London are extremely pleased to participate in this important translational research endeavour. "The results highlight the important role hospital care providers can provide in bench-to-bedside research," says Lum. "Professor Lorusso's research will ultimately benefit patient safety by reducing the required dose - while maintaining high-quality medical imaging - and our many hospital teams involved in facilitating the research are delighted to collaborate with Fanshawe College."
Equally excited to support Lorusso's research are regional colleagues with the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance. "As a rural health care site, we are honoured to be included in such a monumental way and worked as a team to assist and contribute to this important work," says student educator/senior technologist Wade Phibbs with Stratford General Hospital. "Our goal is to uphold the ALARA principle in serving patients and professor Lorusso's research definitely advocates for the patient's best interest in avoiding unnecessary exposure to radiation."
Lorusso's research was jointly funded by Fanshawe's Centre for Research and Innovation and the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT). The study became a priority among clinical health care professionals, receiving an extremely-high 50 per cent survey response, thus demonstrating a high level of engagement among the collaborators. Lorusso also received guidance on peer-review research from fellow Fanshawe professor and Fitness and Health Promotion coordinator Lyndsay Fitzgeorge, an experienced research advocate.
Since completing the study, Lorusso presented her findings at the CAMRT Conference in Canada and the Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences (AEIRS) Conference in Portland, Oregon. Most recently, she presented at the 2016 International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT) World Congress held in Seoul, Korea. "People all over the world share difficulties in this practice with technological advances, and educating the next generation of global radiological professionals on how to fully embrace the principle ALARA is pivotal," notes Lorusso. "This international forum of 1000+ delegates has generated significant interest in our findings, and dozens of international professionals are now asking to use and promote the research in their home communities around the world."
Here in London, protocols are being reviewed as a result of the study, and Lorusso believes none of these amazing developments would have been possible without genuine collaboration among the broader London and area clinical team.
Historically, November 8, 1895 is the day x-rays were discovered by German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. So, each year, this discovery is celebrated by medical radiation technologists (MRTs) across the country. At Fanshawe College, MRT week runs November 6 to 12, 2016, with an on-campus information booth and charity event promoting the essential contributions of the MRT profession as an essential link delivering care through technology.
Lorusso's research was presented to the following conferences:
- Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT), Montreal, Quebec, Canada in June, 2015;
- Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences (AEIRS), Portland, Oregon, USA in July, 2016;
- International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT) World Congress, Seoul, Korea in October, 2016;
- West Coast Educators Council – 20th Student-Educator-Radiographer Seminar, Orlando, Florida, USA in March, 2017.
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