Diagnostic radiology has come a long way since the discovery of ‘A New Kind of Rays’ in Würzburg by Professor Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in November 1895. Professor Röntgen called the unknown rays ‘X rays’, but they are also, most appropriately and less mysteriously, referred to as Röntgen rays after their discoverer. In the last decades, imaging techniques using X rays has developed rapidly and play an important role in modern health care.
The benefit of an X-ray examination for a patient could be assessed as how the patient’s risk situation is affected. The medical condition or illness leading to the examination may imply an increased risk of deteriorating health. Correct diagnosis and proper treatment, based on the information in the X-ray image, could lower the patient’s risk. For the individual the risks associated with the X-ray examination itself are small as is the radiation risk (patient absorbed dose) for well-designed imaging systems. Since the number of individuals undergoing X-ray examinations is very large, the collective absorbed dose to the whole population will be significant. Medical X-ray examinations are the manmade source giving the single largest radiation burden to the population, e.g., consisting 87% of the total radiation burden in the United Kingdom. Failure to diagnose is probably the largest single risk for the patient, but for some patients adverse effects of injected contrast media may be potentially hazardous.
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 1995. , 24 p.