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Study examines radiation dose estimates for pregnant women undergoing therapeutic ERCP
Date:4/28/2009

ity and mortality of both the fetus and mother, medical intervention often cannot be postponed pending delivery. Previous case series have demonstrated ERCP to be safe and effective during pregnancy.

Fetal doses are associated with exposure factors such as kilovolt peak (the peak voltage applied to an X-ray tube), tube filtration and the physique of the pregnant woman. Radiation dose is expressed as a milligray (mGy). A milligray is a unit of absorbed radiation equal to 0.001 gray. (A gray is the dose of one joule of energy absorbed per kilogram of matter, or 100 rad.) Because the gray is such a large unit, many radiation measurements are made in milligrays. Exposures from X-ray equipment are typically expressed in milligrays. National and international radiation protection authorities consider fetal radiation doses up to 1 mGy insignificant, while doses over 10 mGy are considered more relevant.

"Physicians should be able to estimate the fetal dose in all stages of gestation and inform any pregnant patient undergoing ERCP about the actual radiation risks to arrive at a prudent decision regarding the exposed fetus," said study lead author John Damilakis, MD, University of Crete, Greece. "The findings of this study show that fetal radiation risks associated with fluoroscopically (X-ray) guided ERCP performed on a pregnant patient cannot be disregarded. Nonradiation ERCP has been proposed as an alternative, especially for pregnant patients in an effort to decrease potential fetal risks. However, further studies are required to prove that the clinical efficiency of nonradiation ERCP remains at the same level with conventional fluoroscopically guided ERCP."

Patients and Methods

The aims of this study were to examine the potential for a fetus to receive a radiation dose greater than 10 mGy (the limit above which an accurate determination of fetal dose is required) from the ERCP procedure carried out for the mother and develop a me
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Contact: Anne Brownsey
abrownsey@asge.org
630-570-5635
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Source:Eurekalert

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