Radiation exposure to patients, personnel, and the public is kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) when imaging outside the department
- Imaging outside the department creates special challenges for radiation safety.
- Ionizing radiation is introduced into an area not normally designated for radiography or fluoroscopy1
- Members of the public and other personnel may be present in the area at the time of exposure
- The principles of ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) are followed to minimize radiation exposure to all present2-5:
- All those not essential to the examination are asked to leave the immediate area prior to exposure2
- An audible warning is made that the exposure is about to occur and sufficient time is allowed for others to vacate2
- Those vacating are asked to stay away until they are informed that the examination is complete2
- Those who remain are advised to stand as far away from the patient as practical while still being able to perform their duties3,4
- Shielding is provided for those who must remain in the area (including the MRT operating the mobile equipment)4
- The primary beam is directed away from any occupied area; this may involve moving the patient
- Fluoroscopy is used only when necessary – in general, pulsed fluoroscopy is preferred
Carlton RR, Adler AM, eds. Principles of Radiographic Imaging: An Art and a Science. 5th ed. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Publishers Inc; 2012.
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority X-Ray Safety Committee. X-Ray Safety Manual. Available from: http://www.wrha.mb.ca/prog/diagnostic/files/Manual_XRaySafety.pdf. [Accessed 20 Mar 2013]
Statkiewicz Sherer MA, Visconti PJ, Russell Ritenour E, et al. Radiation Protection in Medical Radiography. 8th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier, 2018.
Health Canada. Safety Code 35: Safety Procedures for the Installation, Use and Control of X-ray Equipment in Large Medical Radiological Facilities. Available from: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/radiation/safety-code_35-securite/index-eng.php. [Accessed 12 Dec 2019]
College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario. Standards of Practice. Safe Practice. Available from: https://www.cmrto.org/what-we-do/professional-practice/standards-of-practice/safe-practice/. [Accessed 29 Nov 2018]