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J Vasc Surg. 2011 Jan;53(1 Suppl):28S-34S. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2010.05.140. Epub 2010 Nov 2.

Radiation exposure and pregnancy.

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Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.



The effect of radiation on the fetus has been derived primarily from animal studies and human exposures to diagnostic and therapeutic radiation as well as atomic bomb exposure. Given the variety of sources, there is controversy over the dose of radiation in addition to the other environmental conditions that surrounded these events and their relationship to exposure today.


The effects of ionizing radiation on the fetus, the prenatal period, parental exposure, the pregnant clinician, and the pregnant patient are discussed in the context of their exposure to radiation.


The fetus is most sensitive to radiation effects between 8 and 15 weeks of pregnancy. Stepping away from the table and using movable shields help reduce the exposure by a factor of four for every doubling of the distance between the operator and the radiation source.


Proposed guidelines for pregnancy during vascular residency training involving fluoroscopic procedures can help bring about awareness, clarify maximal exposure, and better delineate the role of the pregnant resident.

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