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Radiation Safety Training for Radiologic Technologists


106 mR/hr 32 mR/hr 3 mR/hr. 20cm from scattering object. 30 cm. 40 cm. 50 cm. 1 m ... Long procedures with fluoroscopy on-times over the same skin area ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Radiation Safety Training for Radiologic Technologists

Radiation Safety Training for Radiologic
  • Associate Radiation Safety Officer

Michael Ike Hall, CHP, CSP Emory University
Hospital 404-712-7867
  • Fundamentals of Radiation
  • Radiation Limits and Dosimetry
  • Biological Effects of Radiation
  • Radiation and Pregnancy
  • Fluoroscopy and Patient Injuries
  • Worker Protection

What is radiation?
  • Radiation is energy emitted from unstable atoms.
    Radiation can be in the form of subatomic
    particles (alpha or beta particles) or
    electromagnetic radiation (X and gamma rays).
    Radiation that is energetic enough to change the
    chemistry of a target is called ionizing
    radiation, and that will be the focus of this

Ionizing Radiation
  • Ion atom with a positive or negative charge
    (i.e., too few or too many electrons)
  • Radiation that is energetic enough can strip
    electrons and create ions
  • Ionization can change molecular chemistry or
    break apart molecules

Radiation Biology
  • Ionizing Radiation produces
  • Free Radicals
  • DNA damage
  • All may result in death of cell or mutation of
    genetic information if not repaired

Measuring Radiation
  • Exposure measure of ionization in air (roentgen,
    or R)
  • Absorbed dose energy deposited in material per
    unit mass (Gray or rad)
  • 1 Gray 1 Joule/kg 100 rad

Measuring Radiation
  • Equivalent dose measure of the biological effect
    of a specific kind of radiation on humans
    (Sieverts or rem)
  • For x-rays, dose and dose equivalent are equal.
    Dose equivalence may be different for some
    radioactive particles.
  • 1 Gray 1 Sievert 100 rem

How much radiation is harmful?
  • Radiogenic health effects (primarily cancer) are
    observed in humans only at doses in excess of 10
    rem delivered at high dose rates. Below this
    dose, estimation of adverse health effect is
  • Radiation Risk in Perspective
  • Health Physics Society

How much radiation is in the environment?
  • People are exposed to background radiation
  • The average dose due to background exposure is
    around 350 millirem per year in the United
  • Background exposure can vary with altitude, soil,
    and medical usage.

Background Radiation Sources
Terrestrial Radiation
Even the highest known levels of background
radiation have not proven to increase the risk to
units in mGy/year Terrestrial radiation only
Annual Occupational Limits
  • 5000 mrem whole body
  • 15,000 mrem to lens of eye
  • 50,000 mrem to extremities
  • Set by federal government based on advice from
    scientific committees

Are these limits safe?
  • The annual radiation limits have been
    established to ensure that the long-term risks of
    radiation exposure are minimized. There has been
    no evidence that occupational doses within these
    limits pose any risk. Due to potential
    uncertainties in dose measurement, the limits are
    set conservatively.

Other Dose Limits
  • Members of public limited to 100 mrem per year
    from licensed activities, 500 mrem per year from
    exposure to Nuclear Medicine therapy patients
  • Employees under 18 limited to 10 of permissible
    adult dose limit (500 mrem annually)

Declared Pregnant Workers
  • 500 mrem/term limit to fetus (50 mrem/month)
  • Limit is extremely conservative with respect to
  • Contact supervisor and Radiation Safety Officer
    to declare pregnancy
  • Monthly fetal badge assigned

Who gets radiation badges?
  • Radiation badges are required for workers who
    are likely to receive more than 10 of the annual
    occupational radiation limits.
  • In practice, almost everyone who routinely works
    with radioactive materials or radiation-producing
    machines gets one or more badges.

How do I request a badge?
  • Ask your supervisor or the Radiation Safety
    Officer for a Personnel History Form. You may
    also find the form online.
  • Radiation Safety Training is required to get a
    badge. Please ask your supervisor or the RSO.
    Training may be provided as an orientation
    packet, an inservice, or online.

What are the different badges?
  • Whole body
  • Single dosimeter worn on the chest
  • Chest
  • Same as whole body badge, but worn on the chest
    underneath a lead apron, in combination with
    collar badge
  • Collar
  • Worn near the head, outside the lead apron, in
    combination with chest badge
  • Extremity
  • Ring badge

What kind of badges will I get?
  • It mostly depends where you work
  • Radiology, Cardiac Cath, EP Lab
  • Chest and collar
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Whole body and extremity
  • Nursing, Ancillary
  • Whole body
  • Other employees will have dosimetry to match
    their working environment

How do I wear the badges?
  • Whole body badge
  • Wear on clothing or lab coat
  • Chest badge
  • Wear underneath lead apron
  • Collar badge
  • Wear outside lead apron near face
  • Ring badge
  • Wear on hand with label facing radiation source,
    underneath disposable gloves

Proper Care of Badges
  • Exchange badges promptly at the beginning of each
    monitoring period
  • Take care not to reverse whole body and collar
  • Do not leave badges on your apron, in the
    radiograph room, in direct sunlight, or near
    radioactive materials

How does the badge work?
  • The Luxel dosimeter has a thin strip of
    specially formulated aluminum oxide (Al2O3)
    crystalline material. Filters of various
    thickness simulate radiation doses to different
    tissues. During analysis, the strip is stimulated
    with laser light, causing it to luminesce in
    proportion to the amount of radiation exposure.

So, how do I read one of these things?
Your name and participant number are listed in
the first column. The date of the badges on the
report is shown above.
The badge types on the report are listed here.
Most Radiology workers have whole body and collar
The first number is the deep dose, the dose to
the whole body from penetrating radiation (1 cm
tissue depth)
The next number is the eye dose, the dose to the
lens of the eye (0.3 cm tissue depth)
The last number is the shallow dose, the dose to
the dermal layer (0.007 cm tissue depth)
The report also has quarterly, annual, and
lifetime accumulated totals.
Dose Determination
  • For workers with chest and collar badges,
    assigned dose is a combination of readings
  • Whole body dose from both chest and collar badges
  • Eye dose from lens-equivalent area of collar
  • Shallow dose from skin-equivalent area of collar

Quarterly ALARA Reports
  • Workers exceeding the doses on the following
    table are added to the ALARA report
  • ALARA Level 2 doses are investigated by the
    Radiation Safety Officer
  • Work activity may be restricted if corrective
    actions not taken

Quarterly ALARA Levels
What are the effects of high doses of radiation?
  • Acute radiation exposure, however rare, may
    result in severe clinical effects or even death
  • Exposures of minutes to hours while handling
    highly radioactive sources
  • Laboratory and manufacturing accidents
  • Intentional and accidental high medical doses
  • Radiation controls are in place to ensure that
    these exposures do not happen!

Acute Radiation Syndrome
  • The clinical symptoms of acute radiation doses
    follow a predictable course over time.
  • The syndrome is characterized by the development
    of signs and symptoms.
  • The time of symptom onset may help to indicate
    the dose.

Early Somatic Effects
  • 0 25 rad no detectable effects
  • 25 50 rads blood changes begin most people
    no effects. Some may exhibit nausea or anorexia
  • 200 rads Hemopoietic syndrome. Nausea in a few
    hours epilation in 2-3 weeks death possible
    within months.
  • 400 rads complete ablation of bone marrow

Early Somatic Effects contd
  • 700 rads LD 50/30 days
  • 1,000 rads GI syndrome vomiting, diarrhea,
    death in 1-2 weeks
  • 2,000 rads CNS syndrome unconscious in
    minutes. Death within days.

Effects on Embryo / Fetus
  • High acute doses may cause death or abnormalities
  • Large doses between 4 11 weeks can cause severe
  • Doses as low as 25 rad may cause defects
  • Doses less than 10 rad, no effect is expected.

Patients and Pregnancy
  • Mandatory patient pregnancy testing for high dose
  • Screening permitted for low dose diagnostic
  • Report cases of fetal exposure to supervisor and
    Radiation Safety Officer IMMEDIATELY
  • RSO will determine fetal dose and report to
    patients physician

How are X-rays produced?
  • Electrons are fired at a target made of a heavy
    material, like tungsten
  • The electrons are slowed down by the nuclei of
    the tungsten atoms
  • Some of the electron energy is converted to
    electromagnetic radiation (x-rays)

(No Transcript)
Diagnostic X-ray Techniques
  • Radiographs
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Computed Tomography (CT)

How do I reduce my exposure?
  • Observe the following precautions
  • Maximize your distance from radiation producing
    machines whenever practical
  • Do not be in the suite longer than necessary
  • Utilize available shielding

Use Available Shielding
Leaded Goggles, if necessary Thyroid
Shield Badges Lead vest apron Wear dosimetry!
Use Available Shielding
  • Adjustable head/neck shields
  • RADPAD patient drapes
  • Leaded acrylic barriers and windows

  • Know room geometry

72 mR/hr 21 mR/hr
(1) (2) (3) (4)
(5) 106 mR/hr 32 mR/hr
3 mR/hr  
  • 20cm from scattering object
  • 30 cm
  • 40 cm
  • 50 cm
  • 1 m

Keep Image Intensifier Close to Patient
Collimate to the Area of Interest
  • Dont catch the edge of the patient.

Keep X-Ray Tube Below Patient
The patient is the source of the scattered
radiation in the x-ray suite. The spacer
provides a minimum safe distance to the patients
skin from the x-ray tube.
Reduce Magnification when possible
Be Aware of Patient Thickness
  • When using automatic brightness, larger
    patients will have a higher radiation exposure
    for the same image quality as a thinner patient.
    Avoid oblique angles when possible.

Thick Oblique vs Thin PA geometry
Dose rate 20 40 mGyt/min
80 cm
100 cm
Operators Responsibilities
  • Notifying the RSO when there is a new machine or
    any change in setup
  • Keeping exposures to himself staff ALARA
  • Clearing the area of all nonessential personnel

Operators Responsibilities
  • Observing any restrictions
  • Using minimum exposure factors
  • Notifying your supervisor and the RSO immediately
    of any accidental exposure to radiation

Annual Survey
  • The State of Georgia requires annual survey of
    all radiation producing equipment
  • Survey includes radiation output and scatter
  • Data posted near machine
  • All new equipment must be surveyed prior to use

Radiation Injury from Fluoroscopy
  • A delay of weeks often occurs between irradiation
    and recognizable symptoms of injury, shorter
    delays also occur
  • This delay results in a lack of association on
    the parts of physicians and patients between the
    fluoroscopy and the injury

Procedures Associated With Injury
  • Coronary angioplasty
  • Renal angioplasty
  • Uterine embolization
  • TIPS placement
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Neuroembolization

Radiation Injury from Fluoroscopy
  • Patients are often unaware that fluoroscopy
    procedures use x rays and are usually totally
    unaware that fluoroscopy can cause injury
  • Physicians are often unaware that fluoroscopy can
    cause injury
  • Physicians are often poorly trained in dose

Factors Associated with Injury
  • Long procedures with fluoroscopy on-times over
    the same skin area
  • Fluoroscopy through thick body parts (steeply
    angled projections and/or large patients)
  • High dose rate modes of operation
  • No dose monitoring devices

Factors Associated with Injury
  • Multiple procedures
  • Poorly designed equipment
  • Unnecessary body parts in direct radiation field
  • Radiation-sensitive patients (collagen vascular
    diseases, hyperthyroidism, certain medications)

Threshold skin entrance doses for different skin
injuries (Data adopted from Wagner, Eifel and
Geise, 1994 and modified on data from John
Hopewell, oral communication, 1999).
d day(s) wk week(s) yr year(s)
Example of Fluoro Output EUH Cardiac Cath Lab 4
(measured in 2004)
  • Time to deliver 100 rads to patient at max.
    normal output
  • Frontal 10 minutes, 48 seconds
  • Lateral 12 minutes, 39 seconds
  • Time to deliver 100 rads to patient at max.
    output with boost
  • Frontal 9 minutes, 51 seconds
  • Lateral 11 minutes, 25 seconds

Cine Output Cath Lab 4 (Note that output has
increased by factor of 2 to 17!)
4 mos after procedures
7 mos after procedures
9 mos after procedures
Three TIPS procedures in 1 week in type II
diabetic. Total procedure time 13 - 16 hours.
Three weeks later noticed 13-cm x 17-cm mottled
oval discoloration on back. Initially diagnosed
as strep infection, then as herpes I, then as
allergic reaction to oral diabetic medications.
Diagnosis of radiodermatitis obtained ten months
after procedure!
23 mos after procedures
22 mos after procedures
Several months after 3rd angioplasty
5 months after third angioplasty
22 months after third angioplasty
Surgical flap
At 3 wks
At 6.5 mos
Following ablation procedure with arm in beam
near port and separator cone removed. About 20
minutes of fluoroscopy.
FDA Recommendations
  • Establish standard procedures and protocols
  • Determine dose rates for specific systems
  • Assess each protocol for the potential for
    radiation injury to the patient
  • Modify protocols to minimize cumulative absorbed
    dose to any skin area
  • Appropriate training for all operators

FDA Recommendations
  • Record data into the patients medical record
  • Identify areas of patients skin that received
    the dose
  • Record total fluoro time which room was used

After the Procedure
  • Record fluoro time and projection in patient
    chart, especially for interventional procedures
    lasting longer than 15 minutes
  • Indicate in which room procedure occurred
  • Record any additional information on radiation
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