In hospitals, medical offices, and clinics, ionizing radiation is used to diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions. In diagnostic imaging, for example, radiologists use x-rays to diagnose fractures or tumors in patients.
Similarly, in interventional radiology procedures such as angiography, radiologists use radiation to detect and treat blood vessels. In angiography procedures, radiologists use small catheters (thin tubes) with a tiny camera on the end to visualize blood vessels under the skin.
They then insert other catheters filled with contrast dye into the same blood vessel so that they can see it more clearly. This process is called selective arterial catheterization.
Then, they inject radiocontrast through these catheters to see the blood vessels even better. The contrast dye shows up as different colors on an x-ray image of the patient’s blood vessels.
This article talks about how to meet or exceed shielding requirements for a cardiac catheterization or angiography room when installing shielding systems in hospitals or clinics where ionizing radiation is used often.
What Are the Shielding Requirements for an Angiography Room?
An angiography room must have adequate shielding to protect the patient and people in the surrounding space from radiation.
The most common type of scanner used for angiography is a CT scanner. CT scanners are large, imaging machines that use a series of x-ray beams to produce detailed cross-sectional images of an organ.
Because CT scanners project high-energy x-ray beams into the body, they can be extremely dangerous to patients if not properly shielded. To keep patients safe from the x-rays that a CT scanner gives off, a shield must be built around the machine.
The best way to shield against radiation exposure is with lead backed drywall, lead lined doors, and lead glass.
What Is Ionizing Radiation?
Ionizing radiation is a type of radiation that can damage living cells, tissues, and DNA. It has enough energy to break chemical bonds and cause significant damage to things it comes into contact with.
This radiation is made up of particles and electromagnetic (EM) radiation. EM radiation includes x-rays, microwaves, and radio waves, while particle radiation is made up of subatomic particles such as electrons, protons, and neutrons.
Ionizing radiation can also be made up of a combination of these types of radiation. When radiologists use x-ray machines to take an image of a patient’s blood vessels, the machine is generating ionizing radiation that is being emitted into the room.
The shielding requirements for the angiography room are designed to protect the workers inside the room from this ionizing radiation.
How To Meet Shielding Requirements
There are many different ways to meet the shielding requirements for cardiac catheterization or angiography rooms. You’ll need to obtain a radiation shielding report from a licensed radiation physicist, or your county health department.
Other acceptable methods include installing lead-lined metal doors and windows with x-ray lead glass, protecting a door and window with protection, and installing a double-layer floor-to-ceiling shielding wall.
Install Lead-Lined Metal Doors and Windows With X-Ray Lead Glass
The first way to meet the shielding requirements for an angiography room is to install lead-lined metal doors and windows with x-ray lead glass. X-ray lead glass is a special type of glass that blocks x-rays. You can find it commercially in various thicknesses and sizes, and it comes in standard sizes for doors and windows.
When installing lead-lined metal doors and windows with x-ray lead glass, you need to make sure that the glass and frame meet the shielding requirements for an angiography room. An example of lead-lined metal doors and windows with x-ray lead glass can be found at Lead Glass Pro.
It is vital that angiography rooms be properly shielded to protect patients and staff from harmful doses of radiation.
In order to meet the shielding requirements for an angiography room, a hospital or clinic can use lead-lined metal doors and windows with x-ray lead glass to shield open areas like windows and doors.
If you don't have the money or knowledge to install these shielding options, you should at least think about hiring an engineer to help you figure out the best way to protect yourself, your coworkers, and patients in your area.