ERCP relies on the use of ionizing radiation. However, the risks to the operator and patient associated with radiation exposure are unclear.
In this study, researchers from England estimated the radiation dose received by personnel performing flouroscopic endoscopic procedures, mainly ERCP.
The team included consecutive procedures over a 2 month period in the study.
They used thermoluminescent dosemeters to measure radiation exposure to the abdomen, thyroid gland, and hands of the operator. This permitted an estimation of the annual whole body effective radiation dose (ED) equivalent to be made.
During the study period, 66 fluoroscopic endoscopic procedures, including 61 ERCPs, were performed.
|Whole body effective radiation dose equivalent received by operators ranged between 3.35 and 5.87 mSv.|
The researchers found that the estimated annual whole body ED equivalent received by consultant operators ranged between 3.35 and 5.87 mSv.
These values were similar to those received by patients undergoing barium studies. They equate to an estimated additional lifetime fatal cancer risk between 1 in 7000 and 1 in 3500.
The values are within the legal safety limits for radiation exposure to personnel. However they are considerably higher than the levels deemed acceptable for the general public.
Dr Singhal's team concluded, "We suggest that personnel as well as patients may be exposed to significant levels of radiation during ERCP".