Diagnostic Radiation Emitting Equipment Safety
Purpose/ Applicability: The purpose of this SOP is to promote radiation safety and knowledge when using any equipment that produces radiation for diagnostic purposes.
Scope: It is the responsibility of all individuals to know how to work safely in the presence of diagnostic radiation-emitting equipment. This includes: wearing the proper lead PPE depending upon what your role is in the imaging process, knowing where the primary beam is pointed, and making every possible effort to stay out of the primary beam. Every effort shall be made to stay 6 feet away from the x-ray tube and the x-ray detector. Standing within 6 feet of either of those areas puts you at a higher chance of being exposed to unnecessary scatter radiation. Do not stand directly behind the x-ray detector, because that is where the primary x-ray beam is aiming. It is the responsibility of all individuals that may be exposed to radiation that is produced from a piece of medical imaging equipment to wear a dosimetry badge when they are in the clinical environment at the VTH.
- Primary Beam- the x-ray beam as it leaves the x-ray tube, before it strikes the patient, or the detector
- Scatter Radiation- a type of secondary radiation that occurs when the beam intercepts an object (patient’s body), causing the x-rays to be scattered in different directions.
- Xray Tube- a device for generating x-rays by accelerating electrons to high energies and causing them to strike a metal target from which the x-rays are emitted.
There is an x-ray tube in every piece of diagnostic radiographic equipment.
- Image Intensifier-a component of a C-arm that captures x-rays from the x-ray tube and converts to an image that is displayed on the monitors of the system. This is the large circular side of the c-arm
- Detector- where the image is captured and turned into a digital image. This takes the place of an x-ray cassette that held film.
- Collimation- the collimators change the size of the area where x-rays will be exposed.By using the collimators, you are changing the exposure field, and reducing the amount of scatter that is produced.
- Stationary X-ray units- where the x-ray tube is attached to the ceiling or to the x-ray table
- Fluoroscopy tables- where the radiation comes from below the table and is projected onto the fluoroscopy tower that is over the patient’s body. This gives us real time imaging.
- Portable Xray units- units that can be taken anywhere, within or outside of the VTH building. These must never be held by hand during an exposure. They should be held by a stand, or inanimate object.
- Dental Units- X-ray units that are used specifically for veterinary dental radiographs
- C-Arms- used mostly in surgery settings but can be used outside of surgery for fluoroscopy as well. The x-ray tube is the smaller side of the c-arm, and the image intensifier is the larger circular side.
- CT scanners- an x-ray tube within the CT gantry that helps to create series of very detailed radiographic images of the patient. The images can be extremely thin and can reconstruct images in other body planes.
- Interventional Suite Equipment- the radiation emitting equipment that is in OR 7.It is like a C-arm that is attached to the ceiling. This unit can produce very detailed radiographic and fluoroscopic images of the patient.
- Be aware of what type of radiation emitting equipment you are working around.
- Be familiar with where the radiation comes from and where it is going.
- Be aware that fluoroscopy images create more radiation than a regular radiograph.
- Always wear the proper lead PPE. If you are holding the patient, you must wear a lead apron, thyroid shield, and lead gloves. If you are standing in the room during the exposure, you must wear a lead apron and thyroid shield.
- Every effort shall be made to stay 6 feet or more away from the x-ray tube and the x-ray detector. Standing within 6 feet of either of these areas puts you at a higher change of being exposed to unnecessary scatter radiation.
- Do not stand directly behind the x-ray detector, because that is where the primary beam is aiming.
- Never place any human body part in the primary beam.
- Never hand hold a portable x-ray unit. They should all be held by a stand, or an inanimate object