ASRT: Don't stop patient gonadal and fetal shielding during x-rays

The American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) Board of Directors has announced that more research is required before it feels comfortable recommending the discontinuation of patient gonadal and fetal shielding during x-rays.

“The issue has become top-of-mind within the radiologic technology community as gonadal and fetal shielding are longstanding practices for facilities and radiologic technologists,” according to the statement. “In addition, the community cannot take this issue lightly as changing radiation safety best practices that have been in place for decades would require amendments to educational programs, state statutes, certifications, facility protocols and patient expectations.”

Back in April, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) released a new position statement that said patient gonadal and fetal shielding is unnecessary during x-rays and should no longer take place.

“Patient shielding may jeopardize the benefits of undergoing radiological imaging,” the AAPM statement read. “Use of these shields during x-ray based diagnostic imaging may obscure anatomic information or interfere with the automatic exposure control of the imaging system. These effects can compromise the diagnostic efficacy of the exam, or actually result in an increase in the patient’s radiation dose.”

According to the statement, the ASRT Board of Directors “cannot endorse the proposal” at this time and still has numerous questions about the possible change.

“The ASRT carefully reviewed the AAPM statement to evaluate how the findings would affect ASRT’s 156,000 members and patient care,” the statement read. “After the AAPM released its statement, ASRT heard from several members and facilities that do not agree with the recommendation to remove gonadal and fetal shielding protocols.”

The statement also indicated that more discussions have already been planned for later in 2019 to talk over this issue even more.