Informing patients about risks and benefits of radiology examinations: A review article

Jeremy S. Cardinal, Richard B. Gunderman, Robert D. Tarver

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

20 Scopus citations


Communicating the risks, benefits, and alternatives to a planned medical intervention is integral to high-quality patient care. When effective, such communication promotes patient autonomy, alleviates unfounded patient apprehension, and mitigates medicolegal liability. The topic of medical radiation adds to the usual challenges of effective medical communication some special challenges of its own. Among these is a lack of understanding by the general population and health professionals of the benefits and risks of medical radiation, which is compounded by unfamiliar terminology and units of measure. This is further complicated by the fact that many patients have poor comprehension of risk data in general. In this article, the authors present a case, review the ethical basis and legal history of informed consent, and explore the current initiatives, available resources, and further opportunities related to this challenging topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-408
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • communication
  • Informed consent
  • medical radiation
  • radiology
  • risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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