Operators’ radiation exposure reduction during cardiac catheterization using a removable shield


Cardiac catheterization through radial access is associated with significant ionizing radiation exposure for the operator. We aimed at evaluating whether a removable shield placed upon the patient could impact favorably on annual radiation exposure for the operator. We designed a pre–post study comparing radiation exposure in a total of five operators under standard protection procedures (first period) and after applying a removable shield (second period). Each period included all the procedures performed in 1 year. Radiation exposure was measured through three dosimeters on each operator. A total of 1610 procedures were performed during the first period, and 1670 during the second period. For each operator, Fluoroscopy Time (FT) per exam did not differ between the two periods (13.1 ± 1 vs 12.9 ± 2 min/exam, p = 0.73), whereas Dose-Area Product (DAP) per procedure was slightly higher in the second period (5.247 ± 651 vs 6.374 ± 967 mGy/cm2, p < 0.01). The use of a removable shield significantly reduced operators’ radiation dose at the left bracelet (64.3 ± 13.3 μSv/exam vs 23.8 ± 6.0 μSv/exam, p = 0.003). This remained significant even after adjustment for DAP per procedure (p = 0.015) and number of operators participating to each procedure (p = 0.013), whereas no significant difference was observed for card (5.6 ± 10.5 μSv/exam vs 0.9 ± 0.3 μSv/exam, p = 0.36) and neck bands (3.3 ± 4.5 μSv/exam vs 2.0 ± 2.0 μSv/exam, p = 0.36) dosimeters. The use of a removable shield during cardiac catheterization reduces radiation exposure at the level of the operator's upper limb, whereas no difference was found for other body parts. This may help in reducing radiation exposure of operator’s hand. DAP increase merits further investigation.

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Correspondence to Alessio Arrivi.

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Arrivi, A., Pucci, G., Vaudo, G. et al. Operators’ radiation exposure reduction during cardiac catheterization using a removable shield. Cardiovasc Interv and Ther 35, 379–384 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12928-020-00646-6

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  • Radiation exposure
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Removable shield