What is FluoroSafety?

Identifying Important Risks Associated with FGI

In 1994 the FDA released a public health advisory warning of the potential for serious radiation-induced skin injuries to patients resulting from fluoroscopically guided interventions (FGI).  In the 20 years since this advisory, there have been hundreds of published cases of skin injury resulting from FGI, and the number is steadily increasing even today.  As the scope of disease that can be diagnosed and treated using FGI increases, so does the complexity of these procedures and the radiation doses to patients, physicians, and staff.  While these procedures provide an incredible benefit to the patient compared to open-surgical alternatives, there are important risks that must be understood by the performing physician.

The Need for Effective Training

In 2010, frustrated by the lack of user-friendly, accessible, and effective training focused on this topic, two diagnostic medical physicists started Fluoroscopic Safety, LLC [//www.fluorosafety.com]. Understanding the need for a balanced perspective and considering that radiation is not the only risk from FGI, they collaborated with an experienced board certified interventional radiologist well-known for his work in quality improvement.  Because of the multi-disciplinary M.D. and Ph.D. backgrounds of the authors of FluoroSafety courses, we understand that when a physician is performing an FGI, managing radiation dose is not the first thing on his mind.  Instead, practitioners are thinking about the patient-specific technical challenges associated with these procedures.  The training programs from FluoroSafety are developed with this in mind.  While our courses do provide instruction on the fundamental physics of fluoroscopy and radiation biology, we focus on simple methods for managing patient and staff radiation dose.  Using videos and animations, our courses provide an easy to remember and easy to execute set of practices which benefit both the physician and their patients.  This is one of the key features of our courses, designed by physicians and physicists together.

Fluoro CME Training and Education

The educational programs from FluoroSafety also help providers satisfy state regulatory requirements. Through a joint sponsorship with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, our courses have been approved for up to 10.5 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.   Our programs meet the training requirements for practitioners who use fluoroscopy in Oregon, California, and Texas.  In addition, board certified providers who complete these courses are eligible to claim self assessment CME (SA-CME), as required for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) by members of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

Interactive and Engaging Content

The educational programs from FluoroSafety are tailored to the needs of busy healthcare professionals and feature on-demand Flash-based learning rich in animations and videos.  Our courses also feature optional narration.  Course content can be accessed at the convenience of the physician from any computer, smartphone, or tablet with Internet access.

Meet State Requirements

Whether you are trying to meet state regulatory requirements or are simply interested in improving the care you provide to your patients, FluoroSafety has a course for you.  The most common feedback we have received from physicians who have taken our course is that they were surprised by how much they didn’t know about the safe use of fluoroscopy—you may be surprised too!

FluoroSafety.com

A. Kyle Jones, PhD

Alexander S. Pasciak, PhD

Joseph Steele, MD

Fluoroscopic Safety, LLC

Discover Gucci Radiation Resistant Glasses

Are you fashion savvy?

Have you been searching for a fashionable way to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation?

Then look no further.

Gucci radiation resistant glasses have arrived. Gucci, a name synonymous with high-fashion and stylish sophistication is the latest addition to our radiation protection eyewear line.

Gucci’s styles for women range from the lightweight nylon frames of the Gucci GG 3547/S, to the bold, full-rimmed frame of the Gucci GG 3574/S.

For men, available styles include the classic Gucci GG1000/S full-rimmed acetate frame and the GG 1856/S ultra-sleek wrap frame.

Radiation resistant glasses never looked so good.

Women’s Radiation Resistant Glasses

Gucci GG 3547/S

The Gucci GG 3547/S (shown above) frames are made of lightweight, durable blended nylon for added comfort and flexibility. Unlike the brittle nylon eyeglass frames of the late 1940s, blended nylon frames are more resistant to breakage and are inherently stronger than their predecessor. Consequently, blended nylon frames are ideal for those looking for a high-quality, durable, and resilient frame.

The round shape of these frames subtly draws attention to the eyes and are well-suited for those with diamond-shaped faces. The ‘simultaneous contrast’ of the red and green temples, juxtaposing complementary colors, creates a stunning visual effect. The decorative, high-set temples are emblazoned with the iconic Gucci label (white lettering) on a bold red background. For those who have been seeking a distinctive and sophisticated pair of radiation resistant glasses, your journey finally may be nearing its end.

 

Gucci GG 3574/S

The epitome of Italian luxury, the Gucci GG 3574/S rectangular frame is bold and distinctive. The hypoallergenic black optyl frame is specially coated to resist sweat and cosmetics. These Gucci radiation resistant glasses seamlessly blend fashion, elegance, and sophistication into an integral piece of personal radiation protective equipment. A trendy frame for those who are unwilling to sacrifice style but understand the importance of properly protecting their eyes from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

Have you been searching for radiation eye protection that is functional, yet fashionable?

Your search is over.

These Gucci radiation resistant frames are the answer.

Offering the industry standard 0.75mm lead equivalency, the SCHOTT radiation resistant safety glass lenses will protect your eyes from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

According to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), “Many years or decades could pass before radiation-induced eye lens injuries become apparent. At relatively high exposures of a few Gy* , lens opacities may occur after many years¹.”

Ensure that your eyes are properly protected by wearing the appropriate radiation resistant glasses. In a 2010 study, Comparing Strategies For Operator Eye Protection In The Interventional Radiography Suite, “The use of leaded glasses alone reduced the lens dose rate by a factor of 5 to 10.” Reduce your risk of developing cataracts, while staying fashionable and safe with Gucci radiation resistant glasses.

Sources:

Thornton RH, Dauer LT, Altamirano JP, Alvardo KJ, St Germain J, Solomon SB. (2010) Comparing Strategies For Operator Eye Protection In The Interventional Radiography Suite.

//www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20920841

IAEA | Radiation Protection of Patients (RPOP) Radiation and cataract: Staff protection

//rpop.iaea.org/RPOP/RPoP/Content/InformationFor/HealthProfessionals/6_OtherClinicalSpecialities/radiation-cataract/Radiation-and_cataract.htm

Gray (Unit)

Wiki: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_(unit)

*Gy = Gray, is a derived unit of ionizing radiation dose in the International System of Units (SI). It is a measure of the absorbed dose and is defined and is defined as the absorption of one joule of radiation energy by one kilogram of matter (0.01 Gy is equivalent to 1 rad).

How Do I Order Prescription Lead Glasses?

Question: How Do I Order Prescription Lead Glasses?

This is a frequently asked question that we receive from our new and existing customers. This post will walk you through the necessary steps to ensure that your order is processed in a timely manner. It is our goal to make your experience as painless as possible.

We currently offer over 75 different styles of lead glasses available with different types of enhancements. There are three prescription lens types available, including single vision, lined bifocal, and progressive bifocal (progressive lenses). Please note that the availability of Rx lenses will vary by frame type.

Step 1 – Find your pair of lead glasses

Step 2 – Determine prescription type

  • Single vision
  • Lined bifocal
  • Progressive bifocal (no-lines)

Step 3 – Choose Your Lens Style

Please note that options will vary by frame style and manufacturer. Due to the custom nature of prescription lead glasses they cannot be returned.

  • Standard
  • Anti-reflective (not available with prescription lens)
  • Fog free (not available with prescription lens)
  • Single vision Rx
  • Lined Bifocal Rx
  • Progressive bifocal Rx

Pricing adjusts in real-time as you add enhancements to the frames. The single vision, lined bifocal, and progressive bifocal prescription radiation safety lenses all offer the industry standard 0.75mm lead equivalency and are manufactured using SCHOTT SF-6 HT radiation resistant glass.

Step 4 – Choose frame color

Please note that color options will vary by frame style and manufacturer

Step 5 (Optional) – Add frame imprint text

  • Frames will be laser engraved
  • Imprint limit is 35 characters (may vary by model)
  • Engraved glasses are non-returnable

 Step 6 – Select desired quantity and click “add to cart”

Step 7 – Review your order

  • Review your order for accuracy

 

Step 8Proceed to checkout

  • Returning customers can sign in for faster checkout
  • New customers can create a personal account (Benefits of registering: quick checkout on future orders, easy order tracking, and special offers)

Step 9 – Enter billing and shipping information

  • Enter your billing information
  • Enter your shipping information
  • Choose your shipping method (Selecting Next Day or 2nd Day Air will only change the shipping transit time, as prescription lenses are made to order)
  • Enter payment information

Step 10 – Add Prescription Information

Please note that the manufacturer will contact us if they have any additional questions regarding the prescription after their initial review to ensure accuracy.

  • Add prescription information in the “Order Comments/Special Instructions” box
  • Include OD/OS values from prescription
  • Include Pupillary Distance (PD)
  • Prescriptions can be faxed to 1-800-535-6229
  • Prescriptions can be emailed to order@universalmedicalinc.com

Ordering Information

Prescription lead glasses normally take at least two weeks to produce (may vary depending on item availability). If you need prescription lenses before a certain date contact, please customer service for specific information regarding frame availability and production time. As mentioned above, selecting priority shipping will only expedite the transit time of the package. Since the prescription lenses are made for your unique eye prescription, production times will vary. In an upcoming post, we will discuss the different prescription lens types that we offer in more detail. If you’re curious as to how prescription lead glasses are made, you’ll want to make sure and check out our video.

Questions? Comments? 

Not sure what type of frame is right for you? Many of our lead glasses have product demonstration videos to help you find the right style. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment in the box below.

7 Reasons To Pick These Carbon Fiber Armboards

Why Carbon Fiber? 

Carbon fiber is a popular material used in many industries including the medical device field, aerospace, and automotive engineering. The fiber-reinforced polymer which contains carbon fibers is extremely strong and lightweight. Although carbon fiber may be more expensive when compared to other materials, the impressive strength-to-weight ratio and rigidity of carbon fiber makes it an excellent candidate for various immobilization and medical support devices. This fiber-reinforced polymer also helps keep radiation doses to a minimum.

Medical Applications of Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber provides one distinct advantage over other materials in the medical device field, that advantage is that carbon fiber is radiolucent, meaning that it is virtually transparent to x-rays and appears black on x-ray images. The radiolucent quality of carbon fiber makes it an excellent material to support limbs being x-rayed or treated with radiation. This is why you may have noticed more surgical table accessories like carbon fiber armboards appearing in hospitals and clinics.

Patient Positioning Challenges 

Medical imaging equipment (X-ray systems and CT scanners) will often present unique patient positioning challenges to medical personnel. Listed below are some of the attributes patient positioning systems will generally require for overall patient safety and image quality:

  • Lightweight
  • Durability and strength
  • Rigidity
  • Minimal impact to image quality (e.g. artifacts)

7 Reasons Why You Will Want To Choose Carbon Fiber Armboards

  1. Fully radiolucent
  2. High strength-to-weight ratio
  3. No mounting hardware is required for setup or breakdown
  4. 180° of lateral rotation
  5. Easy setup and removal
  6. Fold together for safe and compact storage
  7. Two armboard styles (rail mount carbon fiber armboard with quick release swivel and shoulder mount carbon fiber armboard with hexagonal base)

Rail Mount Carbon Fiber Armboard with Quick Release Swivel

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Strength And Durability

The rail mount carbon fiber armboard has been engineered to achieve a high degree of strength, durability, and radiolucency. Utilizing a quick release mounting mechanism, the carbon fiber armboard attaches quickly and easily to any surgical table that has a standard side rail.

Radiolucent 

This single, radiolucent armboard allows complete imaging of the arm and can be used in conjunction with other carbon fiber tabletops and extensions where ionizing radiation (x-ray) is used for imaging. Ideal for imaging in a variety of medical settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. This armboard has been designed for use as an imaging platform and is not to be used as a surgical platform.

Rail Mount Carbon Fiber Armboard Specifications

Dimensions 

  • 26″ Length
  • 5.5″ Width

Maximum Capacity Tested Per ISO 6061

  • 25 pounds

Aluminum Equivalency 

  • AAE @ 100 kVp = 1.15mm

Accessories  

An optional armboard pad is available and has been specifically designed for the rail mount carbon fiber armboard with quick release swivel. Constructed of high-density comfort foam, the 2″ thick pad is covered with a conductive vinyl cover for easy cleaning and patient comfort.

Shoulder Mount Carbon Fiber Armboard With Hexagonal Base

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High Strength-To-Weight Ratio

The shoulder mount carbon fiber armboard has been engineered to provide the highest strength, durability, and radiolucency of any armboard on the market today.

Easy Setup and Breakdown 

Simply place the hexagonal base under the surgical table pad. By using the weight of the patient to hold the armboard in place, removal is quick and easy. A rubber brake disc is used to keep the board in position under the weight of the patient’s arm. The unique pivoting attachment allows for a full 180 degree of lateral adjustment, making patient positioning more efficient.

Radiolucent 

This shoulder mount radiolucent armboard allows for the complete imaging of the arm and can be used in conjunction with other carbon fiber tabletops and extensions where ionizing radiation (x-ray) is used for imaging. This armboard has been designed for use as an imaging platform and is not to be used as a surgical platform.

Shoulder Mount Carbon Fiber Armboard Specifications

Dimensions 

Swivel Base

  • 14″ Length
  • 18″ Width

Armboard

  • 27″ Length
  • 5.5″ Width

Maximum Capacity Tested Per ISO 6061

  • 25 pounds

Aluminum Equivalency 

  • AAE @ 100 kVp = 1.15mm

Accessories  

An optional armboard pad is available and has been specifically designed for the shoulder mount carbon fiber armboard with quick release swivel. Constructed of high density comfort foam, the 2″ thick pad is covered with a conductive vinyl cover for easy cleaning and patient comfort.

Material Of Choice

These two unique carbon fiber armboards are ideal for improving positioning accuracy for optimum imaging results. The physical properties and characteristics of carbon fiber make it an excellent material for use in the medical device field. The impressive strength-to-weight ratio, rigidity and radiolucency of the carbon fiber are attributes that make it the material of choice for supporting limbs being x-rayed or treated with radiation.

Share Your Experience

Have you used carbon fiber in your imaging department? Would you like to share your experience with us? We’d like to hear from you and learn more about your experiences. In an upcoming post, we will discuss how to properly clean and disinfect carbon fiber armboards and pads. Sign up for our blog and we will notify you when this post is available.

How Do Lead Glasses Protect Your Eyes?

Protecting Your Eyes From Ionizing Radiation Exposure

Lead shielding is an important radiation safety principle. In fact, shielding is one of the three basic radiation safety principles. Time, distance and shielding are the primary means of eliminating or reducing ionizing radiation exposure.

Lead Shielding

Shielding should be used wherever it is necessary to reduce or eliminate radiation exposure. There are a variety of types of lead shielding options, the focus of this article will be on radiation eye protection and the use of lead glasses.

Radiation Attenuation 

Appropriate shielding placed between the source of radiation and the worker, radiation is attenuated and exposure may be completely eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level. Lead acts as a barrier to reduce x-ray’s effect by blocking or bouncing particles through a barrier material. Attenuation is the result of interactions between x-ray and matter that include absorption and scatter. Much like lead aprons which are commonly found in x-ray rooms in hospitals, lead glasses reduce radiation exposure and protect the lens of the eye.

Occupational Radiation Exposure Limits

Exposure limits have been established by the Nuclear Regulatory Committee (NRC) and set to a level where apparent injury due to ionizing radiation during a normal lifetime is unlikely. This limit is called the “maximum permissible exposure” and medical personnel should be aware of their occupational radiation dose. These occupational radiation exposure limits have been established to help minimize the amount of radiation a worker receives annually by monitoring their occupational radiation dose and keeping them under the established limits. “The exposure limit for the whole body (5,000 mrem) is lower than that for a single organ because all organs and tissues are exposed in whole body exposure, while only a single organ is involved in the single organ exposure limits¹.”

Lens of Eye (LDE) Radiation Exposure Limit

The occupational exposure limit for the lens of the eye (LDE) is 15,000 millirem or 0.15 Sieverts. The Lens of Eye Dose Equivalent (LDE) 10 CFR 20.1003 “applies to the external exposure of the lens of the eye and is taken as the dose equivalent at tissue depth of 0.3 centimeter (300 mg/cm²).”

Personal Monitoring 

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has requirements regarding personal monitoring devices. Many medical personnel are required to wear an individual monitoring device to measure the dose to the whole body as well as one at an unshielded location closer to the eye to provide an accurate reading of the lens dose equivalent. Wearing lead glasses will help ensure the lenses of the eyes are properly protected from ionizing radiation thereby reducing your risk of developing cataracts.

“Radiation workers who operate x-ray machines, fluoroscopy units, certain unsealed and sealed radioisotopes or are exposed to other sources of gamma or high energy beta radiation are generally required to wear one or more dosimeters².”

Eye Protection: Reducing Tissue Reactions

Tissue reactions, previously referred to as deterministic effects or non-stochastic effects, describe a cause an effect relationship between radiation and some side-effects. There is a threshold dose, once exceeded, the severity of an effect increases with dose. Examples of tissue reactions include skin erythema, which can occur shortly after radiation exposure. Late tissue reactions, particularly those involving the lens of the eye, such as cataracts, can develop long after the initial radiation exposure, but still can be traced back to the original exposure.

Radiation-Associated Cataracts 

Two separate studies published in 2010 reported that interventional cardiology personnel have an increased risk of developing cataracts, a clouding or opacity of the eye that hinders vision. In a recent study, Radiation Cataract Risk In Interventional Cardiology Personnel (October of 2010), Vano et al tested 116 exposed interventional cardiologists, nurses, and technologists for radiation cataracts and compared them to 93 unexposed control personnel. Thirty-eight percent of the cardiologists, with a cumulative median lens dose of 6.0 Sieverts, developed cataracts, compared with 12 percent of the controls. Twenty-one percent of the other medical personnel, who were exposed to a cumulative median lens dose of 1.5 Sieverts, developed radiation-associated lens changes attributed to ionizing radiation exposure.

The second study, Risk For Radiation-Induced Cataract For Staff In Inventional Cardiology: Is there reason for concern? (November 2010)examines the prevalence of radiation-associated lens opacities among interventional cardiologists and nurses and to correlate with background radiation exposure. The results of the study demonstrated a dose dependent increased risk of posterior lens opacities for interventional cardiologists and nurses when radiation protection tools are not used. Although, a study of a larger cohort is needed to confirm these findings, the results suggest ocular radio-protection should be used.

Radiation Eye Protection 

Our eyes are one of our most valuable organs, without properly functioning eyes even the most routine tasks can become extremely difficult to complete. “Eyes are delicate and precious” says Dr. Andrew Lwach, spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. When working near and around ionizing radiation it is important to protect your eyes from potential exposure by wearing lead glasses. Radiation safety glasses, commonly referred to as lead glasses, are designed to protect the lens of the eye by reducing the amount of radiation that is permitted to pass through the leaded glass lenses.

Conclusion 

According to a study, Comparing Strategies For Operator Eye Protection In The Interventional Radiography Suite, published in November of 2010, the “use of leaded glasses alone reduced the lens dose rate by a factor of five to 10.” The operator lens radiation dose rate was recorded with a solid-state dosimeter with nonleaded and leaded (0.75mm lead equivalent) eyeglasses. Lens dose measurements were obtained in right and left 15 degree anterior obliquities with the operator at the upper abdomen and during digital subtraction angiography (two images per second) with the operator at the patient’s groin.

Lead Glasses 

Today, lead glasses come in a wide-variety of styles and configurations including wraparound, goggles, fit over, economy, plastic, metal, and designer frames. For example, metal frames are available with frontal (lens) and lateral radiation(side shields) protection offering 0.75mm and 0.35mm lead (Pb) equivalency respectively.

The industry standard 0.75mm lead equivalency SCHOTT SF6 radiation safety glass lenses provide protection from harmful radiation exposure. The lenses have been tested (CE Certified for Radiation Reducing Eyewear) at 100 kV and have a nominal lead equivalence of 0.75mm Pb and the side shields offer a nominal lead equivalence of 0.35mm Pb at 100 kV. Lead glasses are an essential piece of personal protective equipment that will help reduce the amount of radiation exposure to your eyes.

 

3 Rugged Oakley Radiation Eye Protection Lead Glasses

New Lead Glasses From Oakley

We are excited to announce the addition of a new line of high-quality and durable radiation eye protection lead glasses from Oakley. There are three models available including the classic Oakley Straight Jacket, the Oakley Crankshaft, and the Oakley Fives Squared. These new frames are a welcomed addition to our extensive selection of radiation eye protection and that provides our customers with a stylish and unique answer to traditional radiation eye protection.

 Straight Jacket® Lead Glasses

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The aggressive styling combined with over a decade worth of research has produced the Oakley Straight Jacket radiation glasses. These lightweight and durable stress resistant Straight Jacket frames utilize Oakley’s O-Matter® frame technology and are engineered to provide you with all-day comfort and performance.

Part of the Oakley active line, and available in a variety of colors, these frames offer protection that meets ANSI standards for both high-velocity and high-mass impact.

Designed to fit medium faces, the Straight Jacket frame utilizes soft Unobtanium components to increase grip with perspiration around the nose and ears, ensuring a snug fit.

For those that define style on their terms, the Oakley Straight Jacket Radiation Protection Lead Glasses provide you with unmatched comfort, performance and eye protection from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

Crankshaft™ Lead Glasses

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Fusing radiation protection with the inspired smooth styling of the popular Oakley Gascan® and Fuel Cell™ designs comes the ultimate in radiation eye protection, introducing the revolutionary Crankshaft Radiation Glasses.

The lightweight and durable stress-resistant Crankshaft frames, available in a variety of colors, utilize Oakley O-Matter frame technology providing you with all-day comfort and performance.

Part of the Oakley Lifestyle line, these wraparound frames improve side protection and are designed to comfortably fit medium to large faces.

Achieve a new level of performance and style while protecting your eyes from radiation with the innovative Crankshaft Radiation Glasses.

Fives Squared Radiation Protection Lead Glasses

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Faces are not one size fits all, your radiation glasses are no exception. Introducing the Fives Squared Radiation Protection Glasses, specifically designed for small to medium faces, that feel as great as they look.

Constructed of Oakley’s lightweight and durable stress-resistant O-Matter material, this frame is engineered to provide you all-day comfort and performance by utilizing Oakleys unique condensed cranial geometry.

The patented hydrophilic Unobtainum nose pads reduce slipping by increasing grip with perspiration, providing you with a snug and secure fit.

The dimensional reliefs, metal icons and sculpturally integrated hinges with dual action cams, the Fives Squared frame is the perfect blend of sophisticated styling and performance eye protection.

When ordinary radiation protection glasses just don’t fit, look no further, the Fives Squared Radiation Glasses is your answer to comfort and protection.

Lead Glass Lenses 

All three of the frames are outfitted with SCHOTT Radiation Safety Glass Lenses that provide the industry standard 0.75 millimeter lead equivalency and are held securely in place by Oakley’s unique Three-Point Fit technology, ensuring safety and long lasting performance.

Frame Personalization 

You can leave your mark by adding the option of a personalized imprinting of up to 35 characters on the outside of the frame arm and enhance the performance of the lead glass lenses with the optional fog-free or anti-reflective coatings. These customizations and enhancements are available for all three frames.

This is an exciting addition to our radiation eye protection line-up and if you would like to be notified of any future radiation eye protection glasses subscribe to our blog and we will notify you of upcoming product releases.

5 Ways To Minimize Your Occupational Radiation Exposure

Minimizing Occupational Exposure

“The ideal dose is the least amount of radiation possible to produce an acceptable image.”

1. Time

Time is one of the three basic safety measures to reduce external radiation exposure. It is important for healthcare personnel to limit the amount of time spent in close proximity to the radiation source when exposure to the radiation source is possible. Reducing the time of an exposure reduces the effective dose (radiation) proportionally. Consequently, the less time you are around the equipment, the smaller your exposure will be.

2. Notification by Radiation Equipment Operator

Before any treatment or procedure, it is the responsibility of the trained and certified radiation equipment operator to notify healthcare personnel in the x-ray or treatment room prior to the activation of radiation producing equipment (RPE).

Any piece of equipment in which x-rays are produced electrically are classified as radiation producing equipment or RPE. These tools are used in a variety of medical applications including radiography, mammography, computed tomography, and fluoroscopy.

3. Fluoroscopic Procedures

Healthcare personnel performing fluoroscopic procedures must ensure that the patient is kept as close as possible to the image intensifier side of the fluoroscopic unit and away from the tube side of the unit. All healthcare personnel involved in the fluoroscopic procedure must stand on the image intensifier side of the fluoroscopic unit, whenever possible, to reduce the radiation exposure. Standing on the the same side as the image intensifier radiation intensity is decreased.

4. Avoid Direct Beam Exposure

Healthcare personnel assisting with radiological procedures must avoid holding the patient manually during a radiographic study due to the risk of direct beam exposure.  Any individual holding or supporting a person during radiation exposure should wear protective gloves and apron with a minimum of 0.25 millimeters lead equivalent. Under no circumstances should individuals holding or supporting a person’s part of their body be directly in the primary beam. Healthcare personnel must avoid exposing any body parts to direct x-ray beam exposure.

5. Utilize Shielding

Whenever possible, appropriate shielding should be used to provide attenuation of the radiation being delivered to the healthcare personnel who are potentially exposed. Healthcare personnel must keep all body parts out of the direct x-ray beam. There are a variety of shielding options available and may include, but are not limited to:

Specific Shielding Applications

Healthcare personnel who may have to stand with their backs exposed to the radiation beam must wear wrap-around aprons to decrease the risk of radiation exposure.

Bone and Bone Marrow Protection

When healthcare personnel are in close proximity to the radiation beam they should wear an appropriate lead or lead equivalent apron of sufficient length to shield the upper legs and protect the long bones and bone marrow from increased doses of radiation.

Thyroid Protection 

Healthcare personnel must wear a thyroid collar to protect the thyroid whenever the likelihood of the procedure places them at a higher risk of increased exposure.

Female Healthcare Personnel 

Female healthcare personnel must protect their breasts from radiation exposure by utilizing an apron that completely covers the area.

Eye protection

Healthcare personnel must shield the lens of the eye by using leaded eyeglasses with wrap-around side shields or leaded face shields to reduce scatter radiation when it is anticipated that increased fluoroscopic time may be necessary.

Limiting Radiation Exposure 

Reducing radiological exposure in healthcare settings is important for both occupational workers as well as patients. The following guidelines are based on the radiation safety principles of time, distance, and shielding. By following these guidelines, you can reduce your occupational exposure to radiation.

 

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Note: This information included in this post is intended for general reference information only. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice.

X-Ray Protective Apron Care: 9 Do’s And Don’ts

Proper X-Ray Protective Apron Care and Use

X-ray aprons serve a very specific purpose, to protect and shield you from the potentially harmful effects of ionizing radiation. Shielding, one of the three concepts of basic radiation safety, should always be used when the use of time and distance principles are not possible.

Protective x-ray aprons constructed of lead or a non-lead equivalent are designed to protect the radiosensitive areas of the body when it is necessary for the healthcare worker to be near the source of radiation. Typically, x-ray aprons will offer frontal protection of 0.5 mm lead equivalency. In some instances, wrap-around x-ray aprons are required when medical personnel will have their backs exposed to the radiation source.

By learning the proper way to maintain and care for your x-ray apron, you will ensure that you are properly protected and you will extend the life of the apron. Below are the four do’s and the five don’ts of proper x-ray apron care. After reading this post, you will know how to keep your x-ray apron looking good while also keeping yourself protected against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

X-Ray Protective Apron Do’s 

1. Inspect and Check Apron For Defects, Cracks, Creases, and Perforations 

Place the x-ray apron on a flat surface and visually check all the seams as well as the outer and inner covers of x-ray apron for any visible damage. Next, check the belts and fastening devices to confirm that they are in good condition. Lastly, inspect the surface of the apron with your hands to locate any potential lumps, cracks, sagging or separation from the apron seams. If the apron condition appears to be suspect, it should be inspected radiographically. “Rejecting an apron depends on the location, area size and number of flaws. It is best to keep the number of flaws to a minimum¹.”

Note: It is recommended that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and/or the state regulations regarding the proper care and use of lead protective equipment. 

2. Clean Regularly

X-ray Aprons should be cleaned daily and deodorized by scrubbing with a soft bristle brush, using cold water and a mild detergent. Completely remove cleaning residue by thoroughly rinsing with clean, cold water.

Apron Cleaning Tips

To ensure x-ray aprons are not damaged while cleaning, follow these helpful tips:

  • Never use products that contain bleach.
  • Do not soak or submerge x-ray apron in water.
  • Do not machine launder, autoclave or dry-clean.
  • Once cleaning is complete, if possible, hang the apron on the designated apron wall rack to air dry.

3. Properly Store X-Ray Aprons

The x-ray apron manufacturer’s recommendation regarding the proper handling and storage of the apron must be strictly observed. When not in use x-ray aprons must be stored on hangers to prevent cracks in the protective lead. If possible, do not store the x-ray apron on a flat surface. Aprons should be hung by the shoulder or on an approved apron hanger. Aprons should never be folded or creased, to avoid damaging the lead. “Cracks in the lead lining can develop at the fold, reducing the useful life of the apron¹.” Hook and loop fasteners must be secured properly to avoid snagging or tearing of fabric, always store apron with fasteners completely secured.

4.  Dispose Of Lead Aprons Properly

X-ray protective aprons that contain lead cannot be disposed of as municipal solid waste. Consequently, they must be disposed of as hazardous waste or recycled. The Environmental Protection Agency encourages recycling and reuse rather than disposal. According to the EPA, if the lead shield or apron can be reused by another business for its intended purpose then it remains a product, therefore it is not classified as waste or hazardous waste. Recycling the lead apron is the preferred method since it keeps the lead out of the landfill and extends the useful life of the lead apron. When recycling is not an option, you can contact a disposal service to properly dispose of the lead material.

X-Ray Protective Apron Don’ts 

5. Sit While Wearing Your Apron

Unless the x-ray apron has been designed specifically for seated procedures, you will want to avoid sitting while wearing your apron. Cracks in the lead lining can develop while wearing the apron if seated. Also, you will want to avoid sitting on the apron for the same reason.

6. Expose Apron To Extreme Temperatures 

To prevent damage to the apron, you will want to avoid exposing your x-ray apron to extreme hot or cold temperatures or to direct sunlight.

7. Lean Against Pointed Objects or Sharp Edges

Avoid storing sharp objects in the pockets. X-ray aprons can become damaged while leaning up against sharp or pointed objects, creating perforations in the lead lining and reducing the attenuating qualities of the lead.

8. Store Aprons Over Chair Backs or Equipment

Laying aprons over a chair back or piece of equipment can create creases in the lead lining and can reduce the useful life of the apron.

9. Fold Aprons

To prevent damage to the lead lining, avoid folding, wadding or creasing your x-ray apron.

Ensure Reliable Performance 

To ensure safe performance, as well as keeping your x-ray apron looking good for years to come, we strongly recommend that each x-ray protective apron is thoroughly inspected upon receipt and at regular intervals and properly stored when not in use.

X-ray aprons should be evaluated every 18-24 months to determine if replacement is needed, depending on the amount of usage and general wear and tear.  If you found this post helpful, please feel free to share this post or our SlideShare presentation with your colleagues.

 

//www.slideshare.net/UniversalMedicalInc/x-ray-protective-apron-care-9-dos-and-donts

 

 

 

 

The ALARA Principle: 3 Safety Measures To Follow

The ALARA principle is an important principle for any worker, exposed to radiation, to fully understand and apply in every day use.

What is ALARA? 

ALARA stands for “As Low As Reasonably Achievable”, a safety principle specifically designed to reduce radiation doses and releases of radioactive materials. ALARA is a regulatory requirement for all radiation safety programs¹. The ALARA principle also factors in the technologic and economic considerations, while keeping radiation doses and releases of radioactive materials to the environment as low as reasonably achievable.

What is the biological basis of ALARA? 

“The biological basis for radiation protection assumes a conservative estimate of radiation dose versus effect, termed “linear hypothesis.” This hypothesis states that, any dose, no matter how small, may inflict some degree of detriment. “This detriment takes the form of an postulated risk of cancer and genetic damage.” While the risk of cancer and genetic damage exists in the absence of radiation, exposure to ionizing radiation increases the level of risk.

Radiation safety programs strive to lower doses, in most situations this can be accomplished, but may involve more costly practices. The ALARA philosophy serves as a balance between dose reduction and economic considerations. There comes a point that the costs outweigh the benefit of further dose reduction.

ALARA Philosophy And Safety 

An effective radiation safety and ALARA program is only possible when a commitment to safety is made by all those who are involved in the use of radiation. This may include members of the radiation safety committee, radiation safety division staff, medical personnel, research faculty, and all radiation workers.

Medical and research facilities will have a radiation safety manual that provides guidelines for the responsibilities and best practices which are consistent with both the ALARA concept and state regulatory requirements. Although these guidelines may vary by state, there is a regulatory requirement that requires radiation workers to adhere to legal dose limits for regulatory compliance, as well as an ALARA investigation dose level which serves as alert points for radiation worker radiation safety practices.

ALARA Safety Measures For Mitigating External Radiation Hazards

  1.  Time: It’s important to minimize your time of radiation exposure.
  2. Distance: Doubling the distance between your body and the radiation source will divide the radiation shielding exposure by a factor of 4.
  3. Shielding: Using absorber materials such as lead for X-rays and gamma rays is an effective way to reduce radiation exposures.

Lead Shielding

Time and distance are two factors that can be controlled by the operator. However, lead shielding is more complex, since there are a variety of shielding options available. Radiation shielding is based on the principle of attenuation, which is the gradual loss in intensity of any energy through a medium. Lead acts as a barrier to reduce a ray’s effect by blocking or bouncing through a barrier material. When X-Ray photons interact with matter, the quantity is reduced from the original x-ray beam.

Protection From X-Rays

The purpose of lead shielding is to protect the patients (when not being examined), X-Ray department staff,  visitors and the general public, as well as the people working near the X-Ray facility. There are three sources of radiation that must be shielded; secondary or scattered (originates via the patient), primary (the x-ray beam), and leakage (from the x-ray tube).

Types Of Lead Shielding

 

Radiation Safety And ALARA

 

Sources:

//www.ncsu.edu/ehs/radiation/forms/alara.pdf

https://www.ehs.washington.edu/manuals/rsmanual/7alara.pdf

Radiation Shielding: A Key Radiation Protection Principle

Time, Distance, and Shielding

Time, distance, and shielding are the three basic concepts of radiation protection that apply to all types of ionizing radiation. Shielding simply means having something that will absorb radiation between the source of the radiation and the area to be protected. Radiation shielding is based on the principle of attenuation, which is the gradual loss in intensity of any energy through a medium.

Lead acts as a barrier to reduce a ray’s effect by blocking or bouncing particles through a barrier material.  When X-ray photons interact with matter, the quantity is reduced from the original x-ray beam. Attenuation is the result of interactions between x-ray and matter that include absorption and scatter. Differential absorption increases as kVp decreases. The greater the shielding around a radiation source, the smaller the exposure.

X-Ray And Gamma Rays

X-ray and gamma rays are forms of electromagnetic radiation that occur with higher energy levels than those displayed by ultraviolet or visible light. Thick, dense shielding, such as lead, is necessary to protect against the energy emitted from x-rays. Shielding and x-ray room design is a very important consideration for any healthcare facility that  performs diagnostic and interventional radiology.

The purpose of shielding is to protect the patients (when not being examined), X-Ray department staff, visitors and the general public, as well as the people working near the  X-Ray facility. There are three sources of radiation that must be shielded; scattered or secondary (from the patient), primary (the x-ray beam), and leakage (from the x-ray tube).

Scatter Radiation

Diagnostic x-ray procedures frequently require medical personnel to remain in the exam room where they are subjected to scatter radiation. Lead aprons offer valuable protection from radiation exposure but there are times that a mobile lead radiation barrier is required to provide a full body shielding barrier.

Imaging procedures performed in remote locations, such as operating rooms, cardiac catheterization labs, and special procedure rooms pose an added challenge to protect against radiation exposure. Lead barriers are excellent for imaging procedures using ionizing radiation such as fluoroscopy, x-ray, mammography and CT.

Lead Shielding

The use of shielding provides a barrier between you and the source of the radiation. Some examples of shielding are lead aprons, lead glasses, thyroid shields and portable or mobile lead shields. Mobile lead shields of at least 0.25 mm lead equivalency are recommended to be used by anyone working near the table during fluoroscopy procedures when possible. Remember to follow ALARA “as low as reasonably achievable” guidelines when involved in diagnostic or interventional radiology procedures. Lead garments, lead gloves, thyroid shields, leaded glasses, lead drapes, as well as mobile and stationary lead barriers between the patient and personnel all reduce exposure to scatter radiation.

Questions? Comments? 

If you have any questions regarding the selection of lead barriers or mobile lead shields, please feel free to leave a comment below or connect with us over on our Google+ community page and keep the discussion going!