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July 4, 1977

Patient Exposure From Diagnostic Roentgenograms

JAMA. 1977;238(1):28. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280010028009

To the Editor.—  Roentgenograms taken in the office of a private practitioner often give an unreasonably large radiation exposure to patients when compared to similar roentgenograms taken in hospitals or facilities specializing in radiology. Many physicians are unaware of the large variation in x-ray exposure that is possible for a given roentgenographic study. We present some data to alert physicians to this problem and to encourage practitioners with x-ray units to have their equipment checked and their radiation exposures measured.Many physicians assume that the State Radiation Control Inspection (typically done every three years) assures them that their x-ray units are functioning correctly. Unfortunately, these units can still give the patient an unnecessarily large exposure even if they satisfy the state inspector.In addition to a larger-than-necessary exposure, many roentgenograms are taken with an unnecessarily large x-ray beam. A convenient unit used to measure the radiation to a patient is