Occupational Exposure to Ionizing Radiation in Interventional Fluoroscopy:
Severity of Adverse Effects of a Growing Health Problem
In February 2015, the Organization for Occupational Radiation Safety in Interventional Fluoroscopy (ORSIF) released a white paper detailing the scientific data on the health consequences for medical professionals faced with chronic exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation. The adverse health effects include brain tumors, premature development of cataracts, and thyroid disease, among others. In addition, because of the need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce exposure to scatter radiation, many exposed workers (physicians, nurses, and technicians) sustain orthopedic injuries.Since the issuance of ORSIF’s report, there has been growing awareness of occupational hazards—and interest in reducing the risks that interventionalists face—as evidenced by the increase in the number of
scientific publications on these topics. In 2015, there were approximately 45 scientific manuscripts (studies, surveys, and editorials) on occupational hazards or methods to reduce operator exposure to scatter radiation, more than double the number published in 2014.
This supplement summarizes new clinical data on the health consequences of chronic radiation exposure, presents findings from new physician surveys on the musculoskeletal impact of PPE, and provides an overview of various methods being investigated to enhance radiation protection for interventionalists.