Published: 9/9/2015 3:36:32 PM
”The last thing I was thinking about was how much radiation I was exposing my body to,” says Dr. Edward Diethrich, Founder and Medical Director for the Arizona Heart Foundation and a pioneer in interventional cardiology. In a video sponsored by the Organization for Occupational Radiation Safety in Interventional Fluoroscopy (ORSIF), Dr. Diethrich discusses his health problems which include calcification in his carotid artery, cataracts, and brain cancer, all of which he attributes to excessive radiation exposure during surgery.1
Dr. Diethrich touts the advantages of endovascular surgery, which include the lack of incisions and blood loss, as well as faster patient discharges. While certainly “safer and simpler” for patients, these procedures expose physicians and other clinical staff to high levels of radiation due to the necessity of frequent imaging, similar to the imaging requirements of a catheterization laboratory (cath lab).1 The cath lab, like the interventional fluoroscopy suite, is a closed atmosphere where staff is exposed to high levels of radiation nearly every day.2
How to Reduce the Radiation Risk
Studies show that lead shielding can significantly reduce the risk of radiation exposure, but only when used appropriately and when the lead garments are in proper working condition,2 making the choice of a supplier critical to the health and safety of staff members. AliMed, a leading manufacturer and distributor of OR and medical imaging products, offers a comprehensive selection of high quality radiation protection garments and accessories. This radiation protection encompasses a full array of 0.5mm Pb-protection products including disposable and reusable thyroid shields, disposable headbands, radiation protective eyewear, and a variety of lead aprons. Alimed lead aprons are available in different weights including an ultralight lead-free radiation apron, which can ease the strain and muscle tension that can come from wearing heavy lead shielding for long interventional procedures.
“I’m a living example of excessive radiation and what it can do to tissue,” says Dr. Diethrich. “I think I felt that this radiation cannot hurt me, I felt indestructible—obviously I didn't know what I was talking about." You can help to reduce the risk of radiation exposure with radiation protection gear.