Patient Shielding – Is it Necessary?

Medical Physics Consultants, Inc

Earlier this year, the AAPM issued a position statement on the use of patient gonadal and fetal shielding during diagnostic imaging exams utilizing radiation and as the international society has thought for years it appears it is time to reconsider the efficacy of this practice.

An excellent article outlining the history, benefit (little or zero) and even the possible risks associated with using shielding was published in the American Journal of Roentgenology in April. This article presents clear evidence that patient gonadal and fetal shielding during routine diagnostic imaging exams (X-ray and CT) should be discontinued. We at MPC recognize this is a major paradigm shift however it is important to discuss the benefits and disadvantages (perhaps your state regulations won’t allow you to drop patient shielding) of adopting this philosophy into your practice. We strongly encourage you to discuss this recent announcement with your physicist.


UPDATE: On May 30th the American College of Radiology endorsed the AAPM’s position statement and intends to move forward to facilitate this change in practice; stay tuned as sensible recommendations for training programs as well as clinical practices are created by these two organizations.