Ann Marie Alessi, BS, CNMT, NCT, RT(N),
Product Sales Manager, Nuclear Medicine, Biodex Medical Systems, Inc.
There is a lot of concern about diagnostic testing and the use of radiation in the medical field. The concern is equally justifiable for both the patient and health care professional during the procedure. Many reports have been published listing recommendations on how to reduce exposure to both parties. The National Council of Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) report No.160 (March 2009): Exposure of the U.S. Population in 2006 stated that 39% of occupational exposure to radiation is in the medical field. The report is based on health care workers’ exposure at 35 hours a week, 50 weeks per year with an average 22 year career. Areas of particular concern are nuclear medicine departments, and facilities with PET CT/SPECT scanners. Patients injected with a radioactive isotope must be monitored before scanning begins. A solution for everyone concerned is to simply shield the technologist from the patient while in a chair or on the imaging table. The best way to shield the technologist from the patient is with a nuclear medicine barrier. A nuclear medicine barrier puts 1 full mm of lead between the radioactive patient and the observing technologist. Along with a large viewing window of clear-lead acrylic it both protects the technologist while putting the patient at ease.