The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has widened its investigation into radiation overdoses that patients have received from a type of brain scan, suggesting the problem may be nationwide, it was reported today.
The agency says it is looking into possible overdoses at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank and a hospital in Alabama, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Providence St. Joseph is now the third hospital in Los Angeles County under investigation for problems with CT brain perfusion scans, a procedure used most often to diagnose strokes.
Unlike the other cases, which involved scanners made by General Electric, the scanner at Providence St. Joseph was made by Toshiba -- adding a new dimension to the investigation, The Times reported.
Angelo Bellomo, head of environmental health for the L.A. County Department of Public Health, said 34 patients appear to have received excessive radiation at Providence St. Joseph over a 20-month period ending in October, The Times reported.
The problem was discovered by Los Angeles County radiation safety inspectors and reported to the FDA last week, FDA and county officials told the newspaper.
Patricia Aidem, a spokeswoman for the hospital, told The Times she was unaware of any problems with the scans and that the hospital had always complied with dosing standards.
The first indication that anything was wrong with the scans came in August when Cedars-Sinai discovered that it had accidentally exposed more than 200 patients to eight times the normal radiation for the procedure. In November, a similar problem was discovered at Glendale Adventist Medical Center.