Assessment of occupational radiation exposure among medical staff in health-care facilities in the Eastern Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Radiation exposure poses hazards for health-care providers as well as patients in health-care facilities (HCFs). Radiographic imaging is extremely valuable as a diagnostic tool in medicine, but ionising radiation and computed tomography (CT) scan carry well-known potential risks. Personnel and radiation safety monitoring is an important safety precaution in the practice of radiography. This study aimed to assess the occupational radiation exposure and safety protection among medical staff in HCFs in the Eastern Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Total of 4 HCFs with radiological services were randomly selected for the study in the period from January to April 2013. The radiation survey has been carried out by the measurement of radiation in the x-ray and CT-scan room at different points of the diagnostic, imaging, and waiting rooms of different hospitals. The radiation safety was assessed by using a questionnaire. The results of this study are surprising and alarming. Data revealed that there are a significant association between the levels of radiation exposure in all selected hospitals concerning imaging and waiting X-ray and CT-scan operating room (P < 0.01). For radiation safety, most hospitals have lead aprons and thyroid shields in place, but only about 50% have lead glasses and lead shields, showing that many hospitals still lack essential equipment. Moreover, actual utilisation rate of radiation dosimeters are 57.7% and 68.9%, respectively. All medical staff as well as patients are at risk of exposure to x-ray and CT-scan radiation exposure, and the levels are exceeding the standard guidelines. Many hospitals still lack safety protection tools and there is a complete absence of radiation protection equipment. The authors conclude that further studies should be conducted to highlight different aspects of radiation exposure dose and safety protection tools. Authors: Salama KF, AlObireed A, AlBagawi M, AlSufayan Y, AlSerheed M. ;Full Source: Indian Journal of Occupational & Environment Medicine. 2016 Jan-Apr;20(1):21-5. doi: 10.4103/0019-5278.183832. ;