Fluoroscopy can deliver a large radiation dose to the patient, as well as a significant radiation dose to the operator and staff. Large doses of ionizing radiation are known to increase the incidence of cancer and very large doses, typically associated with prolonged procedures or improper patient positioning, can cause skin burns, non-healing ulcers, and other tissue injuries to patients. Unnecessary radiation exposure to patients and staff can be avoided by ensuring equipment is operating properly, staff follow proper procedures, shielding and engineered safety features are employed, and radiation doses are as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). This article will discuss these challenges, and the many measures that exist to protect the patient, physician, and staff from the harmful effects of radiation. Each situation involving X-ray radiation should be carefully evaluated to justify the procedure, limit adverse effects, and utilize guidelines and protocols to prevent harm to patients and staff.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Describe approaches to reducing patient radiation exposure.
- Define the short- and long-term effects of radiation exposure.
- Identify ways to reduce radiation exposure to staff.
- Discuss appropriate use of lead aprons and other protective gear.
Categories: Fluoroscopy, Radiation Safety/Protection