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Radiation Safety for Veterinary Technicians

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Caitlin Bell

on 19 October 2015

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Transcript of Radiation Safety for Veterinary Technicians

Radiation Safety for Veterinary Technicians
By: Caitlin Bell

Rule #1:
Don't fear radiology, respect it!
Occupational Exposure:
The owner of the veterinary clinic is responsible for safety training and equipment maintenance but YOU are in charge of your own safety to minimize occupational exposure to less than the maximum acceptable occupational dose

Roentgen Equivalent Man (REM): Measure of the biological effect of radiation on different tissue.
1 REM = 1000 mREM

Federal occupational limit per year for an adult is "As Low As Reasonably Achievable" but not to exceed 5,000 mREM
Time, Distance, Shielding
Three major principles to promote keeping radiation doses A.L.A.R.A
Dosimeter Badge
Monitors cumulative exposure to ionizing radiation

The dosimeter badge measures absorbed radiation dosages to insure exposed worker stays below annual threshold

The CVMA recommends each employee have an individual monitoring device although veterinarians are not required by law to provide them (!)

Should not be left in radiology room, on lead aprons, and should never leave the clinic

Occupational exposure should be recorded at least quarterly and the law states an annual report of occupational exposure is to be given to all employees who are being monitored
What is Radiation?
Radiation cannot be seen, heard, smelled, or tasted so it can be disregarded as a threat or danger

We are exposed to non-ionizing radiation on a daily basis just living our day to day lives

The radiation we are exposed to in our occupation is called
ionizing radiation

Ionizing radiation can produce non-reparable cell damage or kill cells by removing electrons or damaging DNA; this results in genetic or somatic damage
Minimizing the time of exposure directly reduces radiation dose
Doubling the distance between your body and the primary beam will divide exposure by a factor of four (Inverse Square Law)
Somatic damage: leads to squamous cell carcinoma, leukemia, cataracts, thyroid disease
Genetic damage: produces injury to reproductive cells, which leads to genetic mutations or congenital malformations of an unborn fetus
Most At Risk:
Because radiation has the greatest impact on growing or dividing cells, people under 18, pregnant women, and women of child bearing age are most affected by genetic damage

Persons under 18 years old are not permitted to take radiographs for their clinics although 1/10th the adult dose of radiation is permitted

Women who are pregnant must inform their supervisor as soon as possible to start taking extra precautions; they should not be allowed to take radiographs
A.L.A.R.A Principle
A.L.A.R.A- As Low As Reasonable Achievable

A.L.A.R.A is a radiation safety principle and regulatory requirement of radiation safety programs to minimize radiation doses of all employees of the clinic

All individuals working around radiation must consider this concept and act on it by observing all safety procedures and cautions, thus exposing themselves to the least amount of radiation possible
Primary and Secondary Radiation
When taking an x-ray, the radiation is generated in the x-ray tube and then is shot down to the patient in what is known as the primary beam. The primary beam has enough energy to penetrate the patient to various degrees depending on thickness and density of the body part being radiographed

Once the primary beam hits the patient, some of the energy hits the digital cassette while the rest "scatters" in straight lines to hit other objects

Secondary radiation, or
scatter radiation
, is lower energy but has been found to be the largest source of exposure to the radiagrapher while the patient is the largest source of scatter
Rotate staff to prevent over exposure to one employee
Limit people in the room to create a less stressful environment
Limit number of retakes
Set machine with proper settings prior to exposure
Determine and understand anatomy needed for the shot
Collimate each view on all 4 sides to create sharper image

*Collimating also reduces area so you also reduce volume meaning you produce less scatter. This, in turn, reduces exposure to you and to the patient
Eliminate number of people in room by:
- Using sedation/anesthesia
- Positioning devices/restraints
- Using foot pedal outside door (with 6'
power cord)
Lean away from table and turn head away
Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is a highly effective way to reduce radiation
PPE is NOT optional
Lead apron - make sure it's not too large and sits high around the neck
Thyroid shield - Important area of the body to protect. Also where dosimeter badge is placed (on outside of shield)
Lead gloves - Full gloves, mittens, or split hand styles
Goggles - suggested but not required (can close your eyes and turn your head)
PPE must be stored properly to avoid cracks or other damage
Important to check equipment regularly for damage, otherwise it's useless
For more information on radiation safety....
CA Veterinary Medical Board, Radiation Safety Guide

DHS Radiation Safety Instructions

CVMA Radiation Safety and Compliance FAQs
Full transcript