Venita Chandra1, Chelsea A. Dorsey1, Amy B. Reed2, Palma Shaw3, Wei Zhou1
1Vascular Surgery, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Stanford, CA; 2Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA; 3Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.
OBJECTIVES: One unique concern of current and future women in vascular surgery remains the safety of childbearing in the setting of radiation exposure associated with increased endovascular practice. Little is known regarding actual fetal radiation exposure. This multi-institutional study aimed to evaluate the radiation dosages recorded on fetal dosimetry badges and compare them to external badges worn by the same cohort of women.
METHODS: All women who declared pregnancy with any potential radiation exposure were required to wear two radiation monitors at each institution; one outside and the other inside the lead apron. External and fetal monitor dosimetry readings were analyzed. Maternal radiation exposures prior to, during, and post-pregnancy were also assessed to determine any associated behavior modification.
RESULTS: Eighty-one women declared pregnancy from 2008-2011 and 45 had regular radiation exposure during pregnancy. None of the fetal monitors had any detectable radiation exposure. External maternal whole body exposures ranged from 0-731 mrem. Average exposures are shown in the Chart. Although there was a trend toward decreased maternal exposures during and post-pregnancy, no statistically significant differences were detected.
CONCLUSIONS: Lack of knowledge of fetal radiation exposure has concerned many vascular surgeons to wear double lead aprons during pregnancy, and perhaps prevented numerous other women from even entering the field. Our study showed negligible radiation exposure on fetal monitoring suggesting that with the appropriate safety precautions, these fears may be unnecessary.
AUTHOR DISCLOSURES: V. Chandra, Nothing to disclose; C. A. Dorsey, Nothing to disclose; A. B. Reed, Nothing to disclose; P. Shaw, Nothing to disclose; W. Zhou, Nothing to disclose.
DEEP=external whole-body exposure, SHALLOW=exposure of the skin or an extremity, EYE=external exposure of the eye.
Posted April 2012