Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Too Much Radiation From Medical Imaging?

Researchers Say Patients Need to Weigh Risks vs. Benefits of Imaging Tests

Value of Some Medical Imaging Unclear

In a perspective published with the study, cardiologist Michael S. Lauer, MD, of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) presented the hypothetical case of a 58-year-old man named Jim with risk factors for heart disease who has an inconclusive nuclear stress test followed by another commonly used imaging test known as CT angiography, which also fails to confirm his diagnosis.

The two tests would result in more than 20 mSv of radiation exposure.

"Jim's story reflects outpatient practice that has become increasingly common in the United States, which has the world's highest per capita imaging rate," Lauer writes.

"Most physicians who order imaging tests experience no consequences for incurring costs for procedures of unproven value. On the contrary, they or their colleagues are paid for their services, and their patients don't complain because the costs are covered."

While health care reform has the potential to slow the growth of medical imaging, Lauer says the real challenge is to identify which tests add value for the diagnosis and management of disease and which do not.

He tells WebMD that for some tests, like mammography, the benefits are clear. But for others, like nuclear stress testing to identify heart disease, the risks may very well outweigh the benefits.

"Medical practice should be based on the most rigorous science, and we don't have that for many of these tests," he says. "We need large, well-designed trials to figure this out."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
fast healthy snack ideas
how healthy is your mouth
dog on couch
doctor holding syringe
champagne toast
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Man feeding woman
two senior women laughing