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Anesthesiology. 2011 Mar;114(3):512-20. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e31820c2b81.

Radiation exposure of the anesthesiologist in the neurointerventional suite.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.



Scatter radiation during interventional radiology procedures can produce cataracts in participating medical personnel. Standard safety equipment for the radiologist includes eye protection. The typical configuration of fluoroscopy equipment directs radiation scatter away from the radiologist and toward the anesthesiologist. This study analyzed facial radiation exposure of the anesthesiologist during interventional neuroradiology procedures.


Radiation exposure to the forehead of the anesthesiologist and radiologist was measured during 31 adult neuroradiologic procedures involving the head or neck. Variables hypothesized to affect anesthesiologist exposure were recorded for each procedure. These included total radiation emitted by fluoroscopic equipment, radiologist exposure, number of pharmacologic interventions performed by the anesthesiologist, and other variables.


Radiation exposure to the anesthesiologist's face averaged 6.5 ± 5.4 μSv per interventional procedure. This exposure was more than 6-fold greater (P < 0.0005) than for noninterventional angiographic procedures (1.0 ± 1.0) and averaged more than 3-fold the exposure of the radiologist (ratio, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.8-4.5). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that the exposure of the anesthesiologist was correlated with the number of pharmacologic interventions performed by the anesthesiologist and the total exposure of the radiologist.


Current guidelines for occupational radiation exposure to the eye are undergoing review and are likely to be lowered below the current 100-150 mSv/yr limit. Anesthesiologists who spend significant time in neurointerventional radiology suites may have ocular radiation exposure approaching that of a radiologist. To ensure parity with safety standards adopted by radiologists, these anesthesiologists should wear protective eyewear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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