The Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology (SCVIR)offers the following comments on a new study in the July, 2001 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology reporting on injuries during x-ray guided interventional procedures. The comments say, in part:
The article discusses a total of 73 cases occurring worldwide over more than a decade of time; the first complication was recorded back in 1976. This is a very low rate of complication, with only 14 cases reported for procedures generally performed by interventional radiologists, physicians who perform minimally invasive procedures under image guidance and are specially trained and certified in radiation safety. The majority of the cases in this report were cardiac cases, generally performed by cardiologists.
"Interventional radiologists have pioneered modern image-guided therapy including the original discovery and performance of coronary angiography," says Dr. Robert Vogelzang, past president, Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology (SCVIR), the professional society representing physicians who specialize in minimally invasive interventional radiology procedures. "Radiology and interventional radiology training programs include radiation safety, radiation physics, the biological effects of radiation, and injury prevention to promote patient safety."
Image-guided procedures have revolutionized surgery and, like many other important technological advances, are being copied by other physicians. Unfortunately, some of these physicians who are using fluoroscopy, including many orthopedic surgeons, vascular surgeons, general surgeons, gastroenterologists, nephrologists and others have no formal training or significantly less formal training in radiation safety and radiation physics than do radiologists and interventional radiologists.
"All radiologists undergo formal training in radiation physics, radiation biology, and radiation safety. Without this training, radiation injuries from fluoroscopy and x-rays are more likely to occur," says Dr. Donald Miller, Chair of the SCVIR Radiation Safety and Exposure Task Force and SCVIR Fellow.