What can I do to increase safety in Interventional Radiology? - Technologists
"Child-size” the radiation delivered to your pediatric patients!
As the front line in the interventional radiology or imaging suite, the technologist plays a key role in improving radiation safety. Interventional radiology (IR) is critical in diagnosing and treating illness in children and ultimately improving patient outcomes. By logging onto this Web site, you already have shown your commitment to improve radiation protection for children. It is the responsibility of technologists and all members of the healthcare team to ensure that every interventional procedure in pediatric patients is thoughtful and appropriate for each and every child. As a technologist in a busy department, it’s sometimes hard to ensure that your action plans are adjusted to use “child-size” protocols and to “step lightly” as you treat. This Web site provides simple educational resources to assist IR practices with what can be done now to improve radiation protection for children.
Radiation from medical imaging, with IR as a significant contributor, will soon approach or potentially exceed background radiation as the single largest source of radiation for humans (NCRP, April 2007). Children are more sensitive to radiation and have a lifetime to manifest those changes. Studies from the atomic bomb indicate that radiation at low levels can cause random injury at the DNA level and genetic changes that impact children’s future health.
Here are five simple steps to improve patient care in your everyday practice:
- Increase awareness for the need to decrease radiation dose to children during IR procedures. Encourage your fellow professionals to get involved in the effort.
- Sign the pledge! Click on the link on the home page to join the image gently™ campaign today. Commit to make a change in your daily practice by working as a team with your radiologist, physicist, referring doctors and parents to decrease the radiation dose.
- Know your radiation safety steps. Download the educational slide presentation here and the Steps for Radiation Safety here.
- Work with your physicist, radiologist and department manager to review your angiography protocols; then use the simple checklist here to “down-size” the technique for kids. More is not better; adult-size techniques are not necessary for small bodies.
- Be involved with your patients. Be the patient’s advocate. Ask the questions required to ensure that you “step lightly” as you treat.
Your patients and their families will thank you!