Fluoroscopically guided procedures are an area of radiology in which radiation exposure to the patient is highly operator dependent. Modern fluoroscopy machines display a variety of information, including technique factors, field of view, operating geometry, exposure mode, fluoroscopic time, air kerma at the reference point (RAK), and air kerma area-product. However, the presentation of this information is highly vendor specific, and many users are unaware of how to interpret this information and use it to perform a study with the minimum necessary dose. A conceptual framework for understanding the radiation dose readout during a procedure is to compare it to the dashboard of an automobile, where the rate at which radiation is being applied (the RAK rate [mGy/min]) is the dose "speed" and the cumulative amount of radiation applied (cumulative RAK [mGy]) is the dose "odometer." This analogy can be used as a starting point to improve knowledge of these parameters, including how RAK is measured, how RAK correlates with skin dose, and how parameters are displayed differently during fluoroscopy and fluorography. Awareness of these factors is critical to understanding how dose parameters translate to patient risk and the consequences of high-dose studies. With this increased awareness, physicians performing fluoroscopically guided procedures can understand how to use built-in features of the fluoroscopic equipment (pulse rate, beam filtration, and automatic exposure control) and fluoroscopic techniques (procedure planning, patient positioning, proper collimation, and magnification) to reduce patient radiation dose, thereby improving patient safety.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging