Cardiovasc J Afr. 2021 Aug 18;32:1-5. doi: 10.5830/CVJA-2021-030. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: The safety culture of an interventional laboratory was investigated in terms of the application of the three cardinal principles of radiation protection, namely distance, time and shielding.
METHODS: The application of these principles was observed and recorded with a radiation safety-culture checklist that was compiled by consulting international recommendations. The checklist evaluated the optimal compliance, especially with reference to monitoring of staff exposure, distance from the X-ray source, fluoroscopy techniques pertaining to frame rate, protective devices and personal shielding. The effective radiation dose was measured to the eyes, thyroid, hands and feet of the cardiologist, nurse, floor nurse and radiographer by means of finger dosimeters that were readily available from the local radiation-protection dosimetry service.
RESULTS: The results, after observing 11 procedures, indicated the absence of table and ceiling-suspended shields, and the distance of the cardiologist’s and scrub nurse’s feet from the X-ray tube were between 16 and 68 cm, with a mean distance of 59.7 and 58.5 cm, respectively. Most staff (91%) wore the dosimeter inside the lead apron at the collar level without eye protection. The highest dosimeter values recorded were 0.73 mSv to the hand of the cardiologist, 0.45 mSv to the eye of the cardiologist, 0.65 mSv to the hand of the scrub nurse, 0.54 mSv to the eye of the scrub nurse and 0.52 mSv to the foot of the scrub nurse. The dosimeter value to the radiographer’s thyroid was 0.42 mSv.
CONCLUSIONS: The dosimeter readings confirmed the highest doses were to the scrub nurse and hand of the interventionalist. The safety culture was non-compliant in terms of staff distance being too close to the X-ray tube, the absence of ceiling and table screens, the theatre door not always being completely closed, and for staff without lead eye glasses, wearing dosimeters outside the lead apron at the collar level.
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