Quantification of scatter radiation from radiographic procedures in a neonatal intensive care unit
In a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), preterm infants are often exposed to a large number of radiographic examinations, which could cause adjacent neonates, family caregivers and staff members to be exposed to a dose amount due to scatter radiation.
To provide information on scatter radiation exposure levels in a NICU, to compare these values with the effective dose limits established by the European Union and to evaluate the effectiveness of radiation protection devices in this setting.
Materials and methods
Radiation exposure levels due to scatter radiation were estimated by passive detectors (thermoluminescent dosimeters) and direct dosimetric measurements (with a dose rate meter); in the latter case, an angular map of the scatter dose distribution was achieved.
The dose due to scatter radiation to staff in our setting is approximately 160 μSv/year, which is markedly lower than the effective dose limit for workers established by the European Union (20 mSv/year). The doses range between 0.012 and 0.095 μSv/radiograph. Considering a mean hospitalization period of 3 months and our NICU workload, the corresponding scatter radiation dose to an adjacent patient and/or his/her caregiver is at most 40 μSv.
For distances greater than 1 m from the irradiation field, both scatter dose absorbed by a staff member during a year and that by an adjacent patient and/or his/her caregiver during hospitalization is less than 1 mSv, which is the exposure limit for public members in a year.
KeywordsInfants Neonatal intensive care unit Neonates Patient dose Radiation protection Radiation protection devices Scatter radiation
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
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