Interventional radiologists have a higher rate of chromosomal damage due to occupational radiation exposure: a dicentric chromosome assay


Objectives: There are growing concerns regarding radiation exposure in medical workers who perform interventional fluoroscopy procedures. Owing to the nature of certain interventional procedures, workers may be subjected to partial-body radiation exposure that is high enough to cause local damage. We aimed to investigate the level of radiation exposure in interventional radiologists in South Korea by performing cytogenetic biodosimetry, particularly focusing on partial-body exposure.

Methods: Interventional radiologists (n = 52) completed a questionnaire, providing information about their work history and practices. Blood samples were collected and processed for a dicentric chromosome assay. We determined Papworth’s U-value to assess the conformity of dicentrics with the Poisson distribution to estimate the partial-body exposures of the radiologists.

Results: Radiologists had a higher number of dicentrics than the normal population and industrial radiographers. Indeed, subjects with a U-value of > 1.96, an indicator of heterogeneous exposure, were observed more frequently; 4.67 ± 0.81% of their body was irradiated at an average dose of 4.64 ± 0.67 Gy. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the total duration of all interventional procedures per week was associated with partial-body exposure levels.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that interventional radiologists had greater chromosomal damages than those in other occupational groups, and their partial-body exposure levels might be high enough to cause local damage. Use of special dosimeters to monitor partial-body exposure, as well as restricting the time and frequency of interventional procedures, could help reduce occupational radiation exposure.

Key points: • Interventional radiologists had a higher number of dicentrics than the normal population and industrial radiographers.

• The level of partial-body exposure of interventional radiologists might be high enough to cause occupational local damage such as a skin cancer in fingers.

• Restricting the duration and frequency of interventional procedures might be helpful in reducing occupational radiation exposure.

Authors: Younghyun Lee, Won Jin Lee, Young Woo Jin, Seongjae Jang
; Full Source: European radiology 2021 Apr 19. doi: 10.1007/s00330-021-07883-0.