Radiation Safety

Ionizing radiation is known to be associated with malignancy, particularly breast cancer, thyroid cancer and leukemia. The relationship between medical occupational radiation exposure and solid cancers remains unclear. However epidemiological studies have suggested an association between elevated risks of leukemia and occupational radiation in radiologists or radiological technicians (Mohan 2003, Freedman 2003). Increased risk of breast cancer was also observed in a cohort of female medical radiation workers in China compared to non-radiation exposed female physicians (Wang 2002). Currently there are no data assessing the risk of radiation exposure in workers specifically exposed to radiation during cardiac catheterization despite potentially long fluoroscopy times and resultant high cumulative radiation doses. In addition there are no published guidelines or recommendations as to best practice in terms of cancer screening or action in the case of pregnancy.

In a new initiative from the WIN group targetted at interventional cardiologists in Europe, we aim to collect information from a radiation safety questionnaire completed by both female and male cathlab staff throughout Europe. The aim of this questionnaire-based study is primarily to evaluate the incidence of cancer in cardiac catheterization laboratory workers, particularly interventional cardiologists. The questionnaire will also address the current practice in multiple centers within the U.S. and Europe in terms of cancer screening and guidelines for pregnant workers with the objective of providing valuable information for potential future standardized recommendations. A pilot questionnaire is currently available for completion at www.winforsafety.com;  we encourage all European WIN members to take part in this survey.

Rasha Al-Lamee

WIN Exchange Co-editor

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