Risks and Accidents in Radiology
Although radiation accidents in diagnostic radiology are rare, when they occur, they may affect a significant number of patients until discovered. On the other hand, radiation incidents that can lead to severe deterministic effects to the patients (hair loss, skin erythema) are more common, since the use of high radiation dose procedures in everyday clinical practice, like CT perfusion scans and fluoroscopic interventional procedures, is continuously growing.
Radiation accidents in radiology usually occur when there is erroneous or incomplete understanding of how the imaging equipment settings influence image quality and patient dose. In order to avoid them, the diagnostic imaging protocols have to be carefully reviewed by the imaging team, namely the radiologist, the medical physicist and the technologist.
Accidental exposure of a pregnant patient to diagnostic X-rays can also occur, despite precautionary measures. Women of childbearing age must be carefully interviewed to exclude possibility of pregnancy before radiology examinations are performed.