7 reasons why radiation exposure, patient dose are decreasing in cardiology

In the last decade, radiation exposure and patient dose has decreased in cardiology, according to trends analyzed and evaluated in a recent article published by the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

"In the past several years, patient doses and personal exposures in cardiology have shown a decreasing trend," stated authors Richard L. Morin, PhD with the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, and Mahadevappa Mahesh, MS, PhD, with Johns Hopkins. "This is very encouraging as many cardiologic procedures that are complex and require prolonged fluoroscopic guidance are becoming routine."

Morin and Mahesh identified seven reasons why radiation and patient dose have decreased over the past decade, which involve technological innovations and changes in medical practice and education:

  • The conversion from image intensifiers (IIs) to flat-panel detectors (FPDs).
  • An increased use of pulse fluoroscopy.
  • Changes in the use of filtration of the X-ray beam.
  • Changes in protective apparel.
  • Consciousness-raising education for personnel and patient radiation protection.
  • An increase in educational institution requirements before granting privileges.
  • An increase of awareness of the effects of radiation and patient dose in cardiology from national campaigns such as Gently and Image Wisely.

In response to their reasoning, specifically regarding how changes in practice due to education, institutional requirements, and national campaigns have contributed to this trend, the authors explained, "Over the past decade, there has been a concerted effort to raise the consciousness of those performing fluoroscopy with regard to both the improvement of image quality and the reduction of scattered radiation by both radiographic technique and orientation of the x-ray tube and detector."