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Radiation Dose to Medical Staff Performing Fluoroscopically Guided Interventional Procedures

, by DCEG Staff

Image of two physicians conducting an fluoroscopically guided interventional procedure.

A new study finds ionizing radiation exposure to workers performing or assisting in fluoroscopically guided interventional (FGI) procedures are among the highest in medical practice. The results were published November 26, 2019 in the journal Radiology.

Data on annual radiation doses for staff who perform FGI procedures have been extremely limited, although these workers have long been thought to be among the most highly exposed in current medical practice. David Borrego, Ph.D., Independent Research Scholar in the Radiation Epidemiology Branch, and colleagues analyzed anonymized data collected and stored by a dosimetry provider for the majority of acute care hospitals in the United States to summarize the occupational badge doses of medical staff performing or assisting in FGI procedures in three recent years (2009, 2012, and 2015). The researchers determined that the majority of badge readings could not be reliably used to quantify occupational exposure received by these workers over the course of the year due to incomplete data or unusual or extreme readings suggestive of incorrectly worn badges. After excluding these uninformative values, the researchers found that the median annual occupational dose to the lens (7 mSv) in this group was much higher than the estimated average dose for all medical radiation workers in the U.S (0.75 mSv). Although the majority of these values fall within current U.S. regulatory limits, 15 percent of the occupational doses exceeded the current eye dose limits recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). The current ICRP dose limits take into account the increasing evidence of cataract formation associated with radiation exposure at lower levels. For those workers who had relatively complete data across the year and a readable dose below the apron, the values were substantially higher (median lens dose equivalent = 27 mSv) than reported values for general medical workers in the U.S.

These findings increase our understanding of occupational radiation exposure to workers who perform FGI procedures and may help inform best practices for radiation protection and promote proper badge placement.

 

Reference:
Borrego, D, et al. Occupational Doses to Medical Staff Performing or Assisting with Fluoroscopically Guided Interventional Procedures. Radiology, November 26, 2019. DOI: 10.1148/radiol.2019190018. [Epub before print]

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