Basic radiation protection for cardiac angiographers

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We have monitored radiation exposure to the operators during the performance of nearly 1000 adult coronary angiograms. The purpose of this study was to measure the absolute and relative radiation exposures received by the operators as a function of several key variables. These variables include the kind of radiological equipment used for the procedure, the efficiency of protective shielding, the experience of the operator (fellow or staff), and the experience of the operator with a particular kind of equipment. The results of our studies are given in the Table. In general terms, the radiation doses received by busy, skilled operators using any apparatus over the course of the year represents a modest fraction of the maximum permissible doses.

In studying the Table more closely, it is seen that the thyroid gland and perhaps the lens of the eye are the critical organs in terms of radiation dosage. The permissible workload for a single operator using the Cardio Diagnost system with the protective shield in place is essentially unlimited. This is true even for a pool of operators consisting of both fellows and staff. The Poly Diagnost C, in the hands of staff operators, yields exposure levels higher than those received by operators using the Cardio Diagnost. It is easily inferred from phantom measurements that the addition of either a table-mounted or ceiling-mounted protective shield will substantially reduce the exposure of Poly Diagnost C operators. With this shielding in place, the workload for an operator using the Poly Diagnost C will . . .



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