Feature | March 02, 2015

Working in an Interventional Laboratory May Lead to Health Problems

Occupational hazards highest for technicians and nurses

interventional radiology, Mayo Clinic, aprons, dose, cath lab

March 2, 2015 — Frequent use of lead aprons in the interventional lab and radiology departments to protect against radiation exposure is associated with increased musculoskeletal pain, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Fluoroscopy, or X-ray guided, interventional procedures performed by cardiologists and radiologists have become increasingly complex. As a result, these specialists spend more time being exposed to radiation and wearing heavy protective lead aprons. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., surveyed employees to determine whether musculoskeletal pain, cancer and other medical conditions occurred more often among interventional lab and radiology employees compared to other healthcare workers.

An e-mail survey was sent to 2,682 employees of the cardiology and radiology departments of the Mayo Clinic Health System facilities. Employees were asked questions about their work environment such as the use of protective equipment as well as questions about specific medical conditions including pain, cancer and cataracts.

Responses were received from 1,543 cardiology and radiology employees, and 1,042 of the respondents reported participating in procedures that involved radiation. The 501 employees who did not report being exposed to radiation made up the control group. Employees who were required to wear a lead apron reported more work-related pain and reported seeking medical care for pain more often than the control group. Those who reported more pain were more likely to be female, were exposed to radiation more times each week and wore a lead apron more frequently. Pain was reported most often among technicians (62 percent) and nurses (60 percent), followed by attending physicians (44 percent) and trainees (19 percent).  

“More attention and effort needs to be directed toward improving the physical stresses that interventional lab employees endure,” said Mandeep Singh, M.D., professor of medicine, interventional cardiologist, Mayo Clinic and a study author. “Efforts should be made to limit procedure times and for regular ergonomic evaluations. Technicians and nurses may benefit from periodic rotation out of the lab.”

“Most of the focus of safety procedures and policies in interventional laboratories have been directed to the patient and the physicians performing the procedure, with good reason, but not necessarily geared toward to the supportive personnel who are integral to these procedures,” said Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D., editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “In creating hospital standards and policies for cardiac catheterization labs, we need to be equally focused on the physical toll to these allied health professionals.”

The survey showed no difference in the rate of cancer, cataracts, hypothyroidism or nephrolithiasis, which are all associated with exposure to radiation; researchers caution that the study would need additional screening and longer follow-up to accurately assess risks for these conditions from radiation exposure.  

In an accompanying editorial comment, James Goldstein, M.D., director of research and education, department of cardiovascular medicine, Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak, Mich., said the findings in this study advance the fields of cardiology and radiology in two ways:

  • They further confirm previous findings that working in the field of X-ray interventional procedures poses a significant risk for orthopedic injury and
  • They do so using a much larger number of respondents, employee age-matched controls, and both physician and non-physician allied health personnel.

 

“In training, we are taught the hazards of radiation exposure and methods for alleviating it,” he said. “However, it is only human and practical for us to care for our patients without further thought of the risk of injury to ourselves.”

Goldstein also said that growing technology, such as ceiling-suspended individual lead aprons, shielded gloves and shielded scrub caps, is facilitating less radiation exposure and less pain, and he remains hopeful that this trend will continue.

For more information: www.acc.org

Related Content

Low Doses of Radiation Promote Cancer-capable Cells
News | Radiation Dose Management | July 18, 2019
Low doses of radiation equivalent to three computed tomography (CT) scans, which are considered safe, give cancer-...
Mirion Showcases Instadose2 Wireless Dual Detector Dosimeter at AAPM and AHRA
News | Radiation Dose Management | July 15, 2019
Featuring dual detectors, the Instadose2 dosimeter addresses international requirements for independent deep [Hp(10)]...
Example of an intentionally truncated CT image

Figure 1: Example of an intentionally truncated CT image. The truncation percentage was calculated as the ratio of the patient border touching the field of view to the total patient border (red/(read+blue)). Image courtesy of Qaelum.

Feature | Radiation Dose Management | July 15, 2019 | Niki Fitousi, Ph.D., and An Dedulle
One of the main benefits of a radiation dose management system is the possibility to automatically generate alerts when...
Fluke Biomedical Introduces RaySafe 452 Survey Meter
Technology | Radiation Dose Management | July 11, 2019
Radiation measurement often requires different devices for varying applications, adding to the cost and complexity of...
Mednax National Cardiac Centers of Excellence Program Highlighted at SCCT 2019
News | CT Angiography (CTA) | July 11, 2019
Mednax Inc. and Mednax Radiology Solutions announced that Chief Medical Officer Ricardo C. Cury, M.D., FSCCT, will...
Radcal Exhibits Accu-Gold Touch Systems at AAPM 2019
News | Radiation Dose Management | July 09, 2019
Radcal Corp. will be presenting the new Accu-Gold Touch platform, a multi-analyzer the company says is the latest in X-...
Mentice and Siemens Healthineers Integrate VIST Virtual Patient With Artis Icono Angiography System
Technology | Interventional Radiology | June 24, 2019
Siemens Healthineers and Mentice AB announced the collaboration to fully integrate Mentice’s VIST Virtual Patient into...
Applications Open for ASRT Foundation and Canon Medical's Safety FiRsT Grant Program
News | Radiation Dose Management | May 31, 2019
The ASRT Foundation and Canon Medical Systems are now accepting applications for the 2019 Safety FiRsT grant program,...
ControlRad Announces FDA Clearance and Launch of ControlRad Trace
Technology | Radiation Dose Management | May 23, 2019
ControlRad Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted 510(k) clearance for its ControlRad...
360 Photos | Angiography | May 17, 2019
This is a view inside one of the 11 cath labs at ...