Radiation Protection absolute necessity for Medical Professionals- Mr Satyaki Banerjee, CEO, Kiran Medical Systems, Trivitron Healthcare
New Delhi: In hospitals and diagnostic centers, healthcare providers need to work with various ionizing radiation emitting medical equipment to deliver the right clinical value to the patients. Overexposure to radiation may have detrimental effects on the health of medical professionals which makes the use of radiation protection products an absolute necessity for their safety.
Radiation Protection products such as aprons, gloves, and shields are designed to protect the medical professionals from the harmful effects of radiation and light-weight radiation protection aprons have lately captured the attention of health care Providers
Medical Dialogues interviewed, Mr Satyaki Banerjee, Chief Executive officer, Kiran Medical Systems, a division of Trivitron Healthcare Pvt. Ltd and a manufacturer of Radiation Protection Products, to elucidate the various effects of harmful radiations and the measures that should be taken by clinicians and technicians in order to protect themselves.
Q) What are the detrimental effects of radiation exposure and how radiation protection is important for Medical professionals and Technicians?
Equipment like Computed Tomography (CT), Radiography Systems, Surgical C-Arm, and Cath labs use ionizing radiation for Medical Imaging. The X-rays penetrate the human body and the resulting image is reviewed by the Radiologist or a Surgeon based on the clinical application. In the Radiography room of a large multi-specialty hospital, 150-200 X-ray exposures could be done in a single day and the technician working in the room will be exposed to harmful radiation levels if adequate radiation protection measures are not taken.
The detrimental effects of radiation can be classified into two types. Type 1 is the deterministic effects which are due to a very high level of radiation exposure for a short period of time and typically the symptoms could be reddening of the skin, complete hair loss, radiation burns, and radiation syndrome that could lead to acute vomiting, nausea, dizziness, etc. Even a person may faint after being exposed to a high level of radiation.
Type 2 is the stochastic effects of radiation which is due to clinicians and technicians being exposed to low levels of radiation over an extended period of time. These are even more dangerous than the deterministic effects because, first of all, one will not notice the effects or symptoms immediately which would show up years or decades later. The most prominent one is cancer. Radiation exposure over a longer period of time is more dangerous as it increases the chances of cancer significantly and most common of all is skin cancer. Emerging data shows clear connections between cataracts, thyroid cancer, breast cancer and even increased instances of left-side brain tumors among healthcare operators. Recent research also shows that interventional radiologists and cardiologists have at least three times the risk of left-side brain tumors than the general public.
Q) How exactly radiation protection aprons protect medical professionals from these harmful radiations?
High atomic mass elements like Lead, Antimony, Bismuth are known to block X-Rays. These Radiation protection aprons are made of lead or lead composites or other lead-free materials that attenuate the scattered radiation and prevent it from affecting the clinicians or technicians. Scattered radiation occurs when the target beam strikes various objects, for example, the patient body and reflects in other direction in the form of a more harmful secondary radiation. Depending on the energy of these X-rays the apron reduces the dose of scattered radiation received by approximately 90%. The degree of protection depends on the Lead equivalence of the apron and a higher equivalence shows a greater level of protection.
Q) What are the alternatives to conventional radiation safety apron?
Conventional Radiation Protection Aprons are heavy and considering the fact that most healthcare providers need to wear such Aprons for extended durations every day, it affects the general comfort and puts a lot of strain on the joints during long procedures.
Light-weight aprons are the alternatives to the conventional ones and the core material used in these lightweight aprons are different from the regular Lead apron. In physics, the smaller the particles the more surface area you get in a defined space. So, micronizing the particle leads to more bismuth and antimony atoms which will block the radiation in a defined space.
In Kiran's ZeroLead Air aprons, which are lighter than the lightest, a fine powder of antimony and bismuth is dispersed uniformly on a matrix of PVC in two different layers. The dispersion is uniform so that all parts of the apron offer the same amount of radiation attenuation as a conventional apron and at the same, it is the lightest of all the available aprons currently.
Q) What are the regulatory standards associated with Radiation Protection Aprons?
Radiation Protection solutions are governed by various regulatory quality standards across the globe. Some of them are European CE certification, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certification, Indian ICMED certification, EN 61331-1: 2014, EN 61331-3: 2014, IEC 61331-1: 2014, IEC 61331-3: 2014 and ASTM 2547- 18.
To qualify for these certifications, the manufacturer needs to prove that the apron is able to provide a particular amount of radiation attenuation in every single inch of the apron. This is possible only when the core material has Lead, Antimony or Bismuth dispersed in equal proportions in every single square inch of the core material and should have the same ratio of Lead or antimony and bismuth. Kiran is one among the few manufacturers across the globe which adheres to such high-quality standards and these Radiation Protection Aprons are tested for radiation attenuation levels in labs in Germany and U.S. Kiran is able to maintain such superior standards in R&D and manufacturing and at the same time remains competitive in pricing when compared to European and American manufacturers which is why Kiran is a preferred Brand across the globe when it comes to Radiation Protection solutions.