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ASRT Offers Eight Tips for Great X-Ray Exams

Improving Health Care During the American Society of Radiologic Technologists' National Radiologic Technology Week and All Year Long

Albuquerque, NM (Vocus) November 3, 2009 -- Medical imaging exams are critical to diagnosis and treatment of many conditions, but how safe are they? Radiologic technologists, the skilled professionals who perform imaging exams, want to help you make sure you get the best and safest imaging possible.

It’s all part of National Radiologic Technology Week®, Nov. 8-14. The week recognizes and honors the radiologic technology personnel who provide medical imaging and radiation therapy treatments. NRTW marks the anniversary of Wilhelm Roentgen’s discovery of the x-ray on Nov. 8, 1895.

“As radiologic technologists, our ultimate goal is to use our knowledge, skills and education to improve health care and provide patients with outstanding care,” said Sal Martino, Ed.D., R.T.(R), FASRT, CAE, ASRT chief executive officer. As a registered radiologic technologist, Dr. Martino understands the importance of top-notch patient care. “Radiologic technologists realize that they are the conduit between the patient and the procedure, so they are in a unique position to help patients before, during and after exams.”

To promote the importance of improving health care for patients, the ASRT is providing x-ray safety tips for every American during NRTW. The ASRT’s goal is to empower patients with the knowledge they need to understand what to look for during exams, which will help increase safety measures and ultimately improve patient care.

Here are ASRT’s eight great tips for x-ray exams:

1.   Tell your doctor or radiologic technologist if you are pregnant. Many types of x-ray examinations can be performed safely on pregnant women, but the benefits of the exam must be weighed against any risk to the developing fetus.

2.   The eyes, thyroid and reproductive organs are more sensitive to radiation than other parts of the body and should be shielded when they are in the path of the x-ray beam, unless the shielding would interfere with the examination. Ask if you think you need shielding.

3.   Remain still during the exposure, which lasts only a few seconds. Motion makes the images blurry and requires them to be repeated, adding to radiation exposure. For certain exams, you will be asked to hold your breath so your moving lungs will not blur the image. The easiest way to do this is to take a deep breath, exhale and then take another deep breath and hold it.

4.   Be sure to remove any metal you may be wearing that could interfere with the x-ray. For example, if you’re having a skull radiograph, remove earrings, hairpins and eyeglasses. For radiographs of the hand, remove rings, bracelets and watches. You may need to wear a hospital gown if your clothing has zippers, metal buttons or snaps.

5.   Tell your radiologic technologist if you have any medical or electronic devices in your body, including heart valves, pace makers or metal objects such as those used in orthopedic surgery. Electronic and metal orthopedic devices may interfere with certain types of exams or pose risks.

6.   Don’t refuse a radiologic examination if there is a clear need for it. Radiographs and other radiologic examinations can provide life-saving information. On the other hand, don’t insist on a radiograph or other type of imaging examination if your physician does not recommend one. Like most things in life, radiologic procedures carry a small risk. They should be performed only when there is medical need.

7.   If you’re referred to a different doctor, take all of your prior imaging exams and reports with you so the new doctor doesn’t reorder the same exam. And remember ? the new doctor may call it something different so you may think you haven’t had that exam even though you have.

8.   Finally, make sure the person taking the x-ray is a registered radiologic technologist. Registered technologists must graduate from a formal educational program and pass a national certification exam. They also must earn continuing education credits throughout their careers, keeping them up-to-date on changes in technology.

To find out more about radiologic technology and medical imaging, visit ASRT’s Web site at

About ASRT
The ASRT, based in Albuquerque, N.M., represents more than 132,000 members who perform medical imaging procedures or plan and deliver radiation therapy. The Society is the largest radiologic science association in the world. Its mission is to provide radiologic technologists with the knowledge, resources and support they need to improve patient care.

Editors: If you are interested in speaking with radiologic technologists, the ASRT can assist in setting up interviews. Contact Michelle Stephens at 800-444-2778, Ext. 1287, for information.

Contact: Michelle Stephens, 800-444-2778, Ext. 1287


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