The radiation emitted in medical procedures has a limited range and duration of effect, and the extent of exposure depends largely on the procedure and the individual being treated. Structurally, radiology rooms are designed with architectural shielding and equipment-mounted shields so radiation is isolated to the radiology suite. There are also rolling and stationary shields used in these spaces.
1 AnswerX-ray radiation is occurring all the time as a part of the natural background radiation in our environment. Radiologists use medical imaging technology like CT and fluoroscopy that emit X-ray radiation, which penetrates the body and creates images that guide interventional procedures. The effect of X-ray radiation depends greatly on the dose of radiation, the duration of exposure and the physiology of the person being imaged.
1 AnswerIntermountain Registered Dietitians, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of Intermountain HealthcareFor some conditions, your baby may have several x-rays a day in the NICU. This may make you feel concerned, but there’s no need to worry. An x-ray is painless for your baby, and experts agree that the amount of radiation used is too low to harm your baby.
1 AnswerIntermountain Healthcare answeredA left ventriculogram is a coronary catheterization procedure in which a thin tube (called a catheter) is threaded through an artery up toward your heart. An x-ray contrast solution is injected through the catheter so that an X-ray can capture images of the blood flow.
A left ventriculogram is like an angiogram (an x-ray used to assess narrowing or blockages in your coronary arteries), but the x-ray contrast is injected into the left ventricle, instead of into the coronary arteries. This shows blood flow through and out of the left ventricle. A ventriculogram can measure your ejection fraction (EF), which is the amount, or percentage, of blood the heart pumps out with each beat. The EF is an important measure of how well your heart does its job and is often used to evaluate heart function in patients who have heart failure.
2 AnswersIntermountain Healthcare answeredCoronary angiograms are x-rays used to assess narrowing or blockages in your coronary arteries. A thin tube called a catheter is threaded through an artery up toward your heart, and an x-ray contrast solution is injected through the catheter and into the coronary arteries. X-rays then capture images of blood flow through the arteries. Angiograms can also be used to measure blockage in:
- Carotid arteries, leading to the brain
- Renal arteries, leading to the kidneys
- Peripheral arteries, leading to the arms or legs
1 AnswerThe following questions can help you talk to your physician about having a chest x-ray. Print out or write down these questions and take them with you to your appointment. Taking notes can help you remember your physician’s response when you get home.
- What are the possible benefits for me of having a chest x-ray?
- What are my individual risks from having a chest x-ray?
- How much radiation will I be exposed to during the test?
- What happens next if the chest x-ray shows something that needs further examination?
1 AnswerMedical tests, including chest x-rays, should not be ordered unless they can provide information that is not available through simpler, safer methods. While the exposure to radiation (including x-rays) is worthy of concern, the amount of radiation exposure in a chest x-ray is minimal. A few x-rays a year is not believed to cause harm. However, if you are pregnant, notify your doctor. X-rays are not typically performed on pregnant patients because of the risk to the baby.
1 AnswerDuring a chest x-ray, a beam with a small amount of radiation is directed through the chest. The radiation that passes through the body is recorded on film or by a computer. Tissue such as the lungs doesn’t absorb much radiation, and those areas appear darker on the x-ray image. Bones, which absorb a lot of radiation, appear white in the image.
1 AnswerThe following questions can help you talk to your physician about having an angiogram. Print out or write down these questions and take them with you to your appointment. Taking notes can help you remember your physician’s response when you get home.
- What information do you hope to gain from the angiogram?
- What potential benefits may an angiogram have for me?
- What are the alternatives to having an angiogram?
- What risks can I expect from undergoing an angiogram?
- Do I need to have an empty stomach before the procedure?
- Should I withhold any of my medications? Are there any medications that I will need to take?
- How will you enter my body to perform the angiogram? (Common entry sites are the artery in the groin or the artery in the wrist.)
- How much radiation will I be exposed to during the angiogram?
- What will happen if a blockage is discovered?
- Under what circumstances might an angiogram result in immediate angioplasty and stenting or a referral for bypass surgery?
- Will I have limitations after the procedure? Will I need to have someone who can drive me home?