Fortschr Röntgenstr 2020; 192(02): 139-149
DOI: 10.1055/a-0989-2621
Review
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Early Detection of Diseases by Radiological Imaging: New Legal Situation and Evaluation of Service Offers using CT Examinations as an Example

Article in several languages: English | deutsch
Gunnar Brix
Department of medical and occupational radiation protection, Federal Office for Radiation Protection Neuherberg, Germany
,
Elke Anna Nekolla
Department of medical and occupational radiation protection, Federal Office for Radiation Protection Neuherberg, Germany
,
Jürgen Griebel
Department of medical and occupational radiation protection, Federal Office for Radiation Protection Neuherberg, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

24 May 2019

07 July 2019

Publication Date:
12 September 2019 (online)

Abstract

Background Radiological imaging offers promising prospects for the early detection of diseases. In Germany, the legal framework for such examinations was created by the Radiation Protection Law, which entered into force on December 31, 2018. Under this law, each specific type of radiodiagnostic screening of non-communicable diseases needs an approval on a generic level (permission) by a federal statutory ordinance, defining the specific requirements and conditions. It is the aim of the present paper, (i) to present in detail the new legal situation and (ii) to assess actual service offers for the screening of asymptomatic persons using CT examinations as an example.

Method In February 2019, radiology institutions in Germany illegally offering on the Internet CT examinations for the screening of lung and colon cancer or coronary artery disease were identified. For each type of examination, 50 pertinent websites were evaluated particularly regarding the general information on the offered screening examination and the concrete procedure.

Results In the vast majority of cases, the information provided on the websites was inadequate and disproportionately emphasized the benefits over the risks of the screening examination. Moreover, the offers differed substantially with respect to the age and risks factors of potential participants, the frequency of examinations, the screening procedure, and the diagnostic workup.

Conclusion The evaluated service offers strongly substantiate the need to define requirements and conditions regarding radiological screening examinations by statutory ordinances, in order to ensure an informed decision of potential screening participants as well as the benefit versus the risks of the procedures.

Key Points:

  • High-evidence studies prove the benefit of radiological screening for some diseases.

  • In Germany, screening examinations are only permissible when stated in a federal statutory ordinance.

  • At present, only mammography screening for breast cancer is permitted in Germany.

  • CT screening examinations currently being conducted in Germany do not fulfill the legal and professional requirements.

  • A review process has been initiated regarding possible generic approval of lung cancer screening.

Citation Format

  • Brix G, Nekolla EA, Griebel J. Early Detection of Diseases by Radiological Imaging: New Legal Situation and Evaluation of Service Offers using CT Examinations as an Example. Fortschr Röntgenstr 2020; 192: 139 – 148