Survey of veterinary specialists regarding their knowledge of radiation safety and the availability of radiation safety training

Scott L. Gregorich Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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James Sutherland-Smith Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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Amy F. Sato Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

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Jennifer A. May-Trifiletti Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155.

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Katia J. Miller Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the knowledge of various veterinary specialists regarding various radiation safety matters and determine the availability of radiation safety training.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE 164 radiology, 81 internal medicine, and 108 emergency and critical care (ECC) specialists.

PROCEDURES An online survey was developed regarding knowledge of and training in radiation safety, and invitations were sent via email through the email lists of the veterinary internal medicine, ECC, and radiology specialty colleges. Responses were summarized, and comparisons were made between radiologists and internal medicine and ECC clinicians.

RESULTS 65.5% (38 /58) of respondents from academic institutions and 30.0% (33/110) of respondents from private practices indicated that radiation safety training was mandatory at their institution for personnel who work with ionizing radiation–emitting equipment, and 80.2% (85/106) and 56.6% (77/136), respectively, had received some radiation safety training. Low proportions of radiologists and internal medicine and ECC clinicians correctly identified the effective dose of ionizing radiation associated with 3-phase esophagography and 3-phase abdominal CT. Many radiologists (92/153 [60.1%]) and nonradiologists (92/179 [51.4%]) believed that the effective doses used in veterinary practice pose no increased risk of fatal cancer to their patients.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Radiation safety training, although more common in academia, was not universally available and may not meet radiography equipment license requirements for some institutions. Most radiologists, internal medicine clinicians, and ECC clinicians had a poor understanding of the amount of ionizing radiation associated with medical imaging procedures and the potential hazards to their patients.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the knowledge of various veterinary specialists regarding various radiation safety matters and determine the availability of radiation safety training.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE 164 radiology, 81 internal medicine, and 108 emergency and critical care (ECC) specialists.

PROCEDURES An online survey was developed regarding knowledge of and training in radiation safety, and invitations were sent via email through the email lists of the veterinary internal medicine, ECC, and radiology specialty colleges. Responses were summarized, and comparisons were made between radiologists and internal medicine and ECC clinicians.

RESULTS 65.5% (38 /58) of respondents from academic institutions and 30.0% (33/110) of respondents from private practices indicated that radiation safety training was mandatory at their institution for personnel who work with ionizing radiation–emitting equipment, and 80.2% (85/106) and 56.6% (77/136), respectively, had received some radiation safety training. Low proportions of radiologists and internal medicine and ECC clinicians correctly identified the effective dose of ionizing radiation associated with 3-phase esophagography and 3-phase abdominal CT. Many radiologists (92/153 [60.1%]) and nonradiologists (92/179 [51.4%]) believed that the effective doses used in veterinary practice pose no increased risk of fatal cancer to their patients.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Radiation safety training, although more common in academia, was not universally available and may not meet radiography equipment license requirements for some institutions. Most radiologists, internal medicine clinicians, and ECC clinicians had a poor understanding of the amount of ionizing radiation associated with medical imaging procedures and the potential hazards to their patients.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix s1 (PDF 609 kb)

Contributor Notes

Dr. Gregorich's present address is MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets, Emergency, 3123 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60618.

Address correspondence to Dr. Sutherland-Smith (James.Sutherland_Smith@tufts.edu).
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