Shielding Patients Means Low Dose for Operators, Too

April 18, 2012

Lead shielding patients helps protect operators from radiation exposure during cardiac catheterization, but shielding is less effective for the radial approach than for the femoral approach.

Pelvic lead shielding of patients reduces radiation exposure to operators during radial and femoral cardiac catherization, but radial access is still associated with a higher operator radiation dose, show results of a study published in April’s issue of JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions.

Researchers from Breman, Germany, assigned 210 patients to undergo either radial or femoral access coronary angiography with and without pelvic lead shielding of the patient. Operator exposure was measured by a radiation dosimeter attached to the outside breast pocket of the lead apron.

Operator dose decreased from 20.9 mSv to 9.0 mSv during the radial access, with pelvic lead shielding, and decreased from 15.3 mSv to 10.4 mSv during the femoral access.

While these findings show a decrease in exposure, more research is needed to further minimize operator exposure to radiation, concluded the authors of the study.