Medical radiation poses a threat to staff and patients involved in a medical treatment process. The processes generally involve applying radiation such as X-rays, gamma rays, beta rays or injecting of certain radioactive isotopes into the patient’s body. Sometimes the isotopes can be administered orally to treat diseases like cancer or to take imaging studies.
The result of a human body being exposed to radiation is the death of cells or the development of malignant cells or mutation. When cells die, this can be harmful to the tissues and organs. If the cell’s DNA is damaged it could become cancerous. If the damage to the DNA is in a sperm or egg it could cause genetic problems in the off-springs.
Hospitals ensure that the rooms where radiological exams are conducted with the use of X-rays, CT scans and angiograms all have a sign that says either “Radiation Zone” or “Caution – Radiation.”
Factors to minimize radiation dose to patients and staff
Limiting the field size to the area of interest alone and using fast screen-film combinations when it is appropriate can help. Some other tips would be to follow optimal processing of film and the use of automatic exposure timers, use of gonad shields, proper selection of grids and compression of obese patients.
Protective devices and clothing should be used all people exposed to ionizing radiation X-ray examinations. Patients should always be protected and provided with relevant information and instructions. All the protective devices should be inspected regularly to ensure there is no damage. The ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle should be followed at all times.
If a pregnant woman has to go through an X-ray examination, it should be postponed until after delivery of the baby. If the examination dose must surely be carried out immediately then the dose of radiation must be kept at a minimum, without compromising the patient’s treatment.
In order to reduce unnecessary radiation dosage to patients, an optimal image quality with the highest possible kVp for anatomical visualization should be obtained for the examination. If soft tissues have to be visualized then low kV technique should be followed.
When the penetrating abilities of the X-ray beam are high (high kV) the patient dose will be decreased. If the radiograph is mostly black then this indicates that the patient received a lot of unnecessary radiation. Repeats need to be reduced to a minimum and it is required that basic quality assurance tests should be carried out.
Some beam-restricting devices can be used for radiation protection. If thick parts of the body are being examined then it is essential to minimize the scattered radiation to improve overall image quality. The grids must be correctly aligned to the central ray as this prevents rid cut-off. The grids need to be checked regularly as part of a quality assurance program that helps reduce the need to re-expose patients to radiation.
Several products can help in Radiation Protection and Kiran, a division of Trivitron provides these essentials, such as:
Radiation Protection Shields: Kiran’s range of special-purpose and multi-purpose shields protects the sensitive parts of the human body.
Radiation Protection Apparel: The portfolio of Kiran is made from proprietary materials, each designed for specialized purposes. Apart from a manufacturer of X-ray Cassette, Kiran also produces Radiation Protection Accessories such as Radiation protection Aprons, Shields and Skirt Vest, Disposable Radiation Protection Gloves.
Radiation Protection Eyewear: Finely ground European glass absorbs 99% radiation while the light, molded frame makes the eye wear comfortable to wear for long durations.
Radiation Protection gloves: Kiran gloves are lead free and easy to dispose of in an eco-friendly manner.
Such precautions, apparel, devices and procedures could remove the risk of unnecessary and fatal harm to the patients and the staff involved in radiation procedures.