A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that medical imaging scans, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT), are used four times as often in emergency rooms today than in the year 2000. In addition, the frequency of these scans has nearly tripled in doctor's offices and outpatient clinics.
These statistics indicate that patients are embracing preventative medicine, but health officials worry that they present safety concerns.
"I wish I had an answer as to whether that's great news or bad news," Dr. Rita Redberg, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told the Associated Press.
Frequent scanning exposes patients to MRI contrast agents that could cause health complications. These chemicals contain gadolinium, a non-radioactive chemical compound that has been linked to the debilitating muscle condition Neprogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy in patients with liver problems.