Patients are not the only ones at risk during cardiac procedures. Doctors performing heart surgery also face health risks, namely to their eyes.
The IAEA is helping to raise awareness of threats, through training in radiation protection related to medical uses of X-ray imaging systems.
The issue of radiation protection for medical personnel is particularly acute in the case of lengthy angioplasty and other cardiac interventions performed under X-ray fluoroscopic guidance. The procedure can cause extensive radiation exposure to cardiologists that could lead to cataracts, alongside other longer term health risks. Fluoroscopy provides X-ray images of a patient that physicians can view on a display screen or monitor in real time.
The IAEA is helping the medical community to address this problem through a major international initiative aimed at training cardiologists and other medical professionals in radiation protection. This September in Latin America, the IAEA is organizing a study to test the eyes of interventional cardiologists participating in a regional medical conference. The Cardiology Conference is organized by the Latin American Society of Interventional Cardiologists (SOLACI) in Bogota, Colombia.
The study is being led by a team of experts, including Prof. Eliseo Vano, Radiology Department of the Complutense University of Madrid; Prof. Norman Kleiman, Columbia University, New York; local ophthalmologists from Bogota; and Mr. Raul Ramirez of the IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation. The initiative is part of an International Action Plan on the radiological protection of patients spearheaded by the IAEA.
"In the meeting of Latin American cardiologists, we will offer participants the possibility to have their eye tested for early changes of radiation effect that may lead to cataract in future years," says Professor Eliseo Vano. "This will allow us to assess retrospectively what radiation dose these cardiolog
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International Atomic Energy Agency