Should We Keep the Lead in the Aprons?

Gabriel Bartal*, Anna M. Sailer, Eliseo Vano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Medical staff should not be exposed to the primary X-ray beam during fluoroscopy guided interventional procedures (FGIP). The main source of staff exposure is scatter radiation from the patient, which can be significant. Although many aspects of X-ray exposure to the patient as well as occupational exposure to interventional radiologists and other staff are strongly regulated and monitored in most countries, it is surprising how loosely the labeling and testing of the protective aprons is regulated. Interventional radiologists (IRs) have to be experts in interventional radiology as well as in basic facts regarding ways to provide a satisfactory level of protection from occupational exposure. IRs, however, are not familiar with the apron testing methods. The accompanying documents provided with aprons by manufacturers may not be informative enough. Vendors often report apron effectiveness at a single beam quality and attenuation. The vendor reports repeatedly disagree with independent reports, which clearly show that the attenuation of these garments at other important unreported energies may be lower than expected. Better trust no one and check your protective garment yourself, or, better yet, consult a medical physicist when making purchasing decisions related to protective garments. Each interventionist should choose garments that are appropriately protective for that individual's practice. Review of past personal dosimetry results and consultation with a medical physicist can help the IR make the best decision. This article will help the reader to understand why all protective garments are not created equally, and provides some practical tools that will allow safe and healthy practice in FGIP. (C) 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-6
Number of pages5
JournalTechniques in Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • personnel radiation safety
  • occupational exposure
  • protective aprons

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