A Career of Radiation Exposure and Risk?

A career in interventional medicine is one that comes with the risks inherent to radiation exposure. But should physicians simply accept that fate? Or is there an available solution to help minimize that risk? Omega Medical Imaging has developed next-level technology that dramatically reduces radiation exposure without compromising image quality or changing existing workflow.

The use of fluoroscopy has become an indispensable tool in interventional procedures as it provides real-time imaging using X-ray. With its increased use has come an increased risk of radiation exposure to the interventionalist and their staff in the form of scatter radiation. The National Cancer Institute defines scatter radiation as radiation that spreads out when the beam interacts with a substance, such as a patient. Scatter radiation is a major source of radiation exposure to medical staff.

Omega has collected and posted several studies and articles on the risks of ionizing radiation. These are categorized as risks to patients, risks to patients and staff, and the risks that staff must face in their careers. Medical personnel is at risk due to the number of cases (procedures) they perform each year. The risks to the interventionalist and their staff should not be taken lightly, but there are precautions and best practices that can help to protect medical professionals.

Hospitals follow the principles of ALARA – as low as reasonably achievable. ALARA assumes that no dose of radiation is safe and that every precaution possible should be taken to prevent radiation exposure to patients as well as to the medical staff that treats them. But ALARA relies mainly on guidelines and training. These efforts are not always consistent in practice patterns, the complexity of procedures, or patient characteristics. Therefore, the actual effectiveness of ALARA can be compromised and the risk of radiation can be increased.

In a study conducted by Maria Grazia Andreassi, Ph.D., and reported in Medical News Today, healthcare professionals working in cath labs experienced 7.1 times greater risk for orthopedic problems, 6.3 times greater risk for cataracts, and 2.8 times greater risk for skins lesions when compared to healthcare professionals who did not. The radiation exposure was highest for cardiologists and electrophysiologists, but the risk of radiation is high for anyone working in any interventional lab.

What then can be done to make a career in interventional labs safer? There are three fundamentals generally proposed as key to radiation safety – time, distance, and shielding. In a previous article, Omega introduced a fourth fundamental of radiation safety – technology. Technology can dramatically reduce radiation exposure to not only the physician and staff but to the patient as well.

ROI (region of interest) technology is proven to provide significant results in radiation reduction. Still, ROI technology has not yet been universally adopted by all manufacturers. Nor has AI image-guided technology that automatically collimates to the ROI – reducing radiation exposure by up to 84%.

Why has ROI technology not been adopted across the board? We can’t tell you that. We don’t understand it either. If you knew you could reduce radiation risk without changing your workflow and still get the image quality you need, why wouldn’t you do that?

The interventional X-ray systems designed and built by Omega provide an automatic, hands-free solution to radiation reduction – delivering the benefit of consistent and repeatable radiation reduction to staff and patients beyond anything else in use today.

AI image-guided ROI systems are proven to be safer than non-AI systems and are quickly becoming the new standard of care for interventional imaging. The publications and science on the advantages of AI are clear and proven in a study that compares an Omega AI image-guided ROI system to a competitor’s non-ROI systems. Radiation is reduced in all modes of acquisition (fluoro and cine) at varying frame rates. Radiation reduction in cine mode was up to ~75% for staff and ~71% for patients. In fluoro mode, radiation reduction was ~61% for staff and ~51% for patients.AI-vs-Non-AI-Comparison-300x273

Omega represents a new standard of care as it is the only FDA-cleared AI image-guided interventional system proven to reduce radiation exposure by up to 84%. This reduction is in addition to any current ALARA best practices for radiation exposure and is far better than any conventional non-AI system. Omega’s AI-enabled system goes beyond merely managing radiation to provide an actual reduction in dose. The result is a groundbreaking solution that provides safer healthcare for both patients and the staff that cares for them.

Omega systems allow physicians and hospitals to provide the best care and radiation safety to their patients as well as to their staff – improving the quality of their careers.

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