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Emerg Radiol. 2014 Feb;21(1):11-5. doi: 10.1007/s10140-013-1160-6. Epub 2013 Sep 19.

Provider X-ray exposure in the trauma bay: results of a radiation field analysis.

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Division of Acute Care Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Missouri, 1 Hospital Drive, Columbia, MO, 65212, USA,


Radiation exposure during trauma care has increased in recent years. Radiation risk to providers during the care of injured patients is not well defined. We aimed to gather environmental exposure data from dosimeters placed at fixed points in the trauma bay to act as surrogates for personnel radiation exposure during trauma team activations. Forty-four (44) radiation dosimeters were placed throughout a single trauma bay in a university level 1 trauma center. We analyzed shallow (SDE) and deep dose equivalents (DDE) over 6 months. We measured distance from the radiation source for each dosimeter. Four controls were included. We recorded patient injury and X-ray data for each patient. During the study period, 417 patients were evaluated in the trauma bay under study. Mean ISS was 14.3 (range 0-75). A total of 2,107 plain X-rays were taken, with a mean of 5.1 X-rays per patient (range 0-32). Extremity films were most often performed, followed by chest and shoulder films. No measurable dose was identified with the dosimeter controls. The majority (27, 68 %) of dosimeters registered the lowest doses (<1 mSv DDE). Five dosimeters revealed doses between 1 and 2 mSv DDE. Four dosimeters registered over 2 mSv DDE, with a mean DDE of 3 mSv. Distances of less than 5 ft from the radiation source had the highest DDE dose. Maximum annual occupational DDE dose is conventionally 50 mSv. None of the dosimeters registered DDE doses over 4.31 mSv during the study period, supporting low radiation risk to providers in the trauma bay.

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