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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 243-246

Radiation safety of women of the reproductive age: Evaluation of the role of referring physicians

Department of Radiology, University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
A O Akintomide
Department of Radiology, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Cross-River State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.141618

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Background: Women between 12 and 50 years are in the reproductive age. The likelihood of or actual presence of pregnancy should be ruled out before they are exposed to medical ionizing radiation. Fetal exposure to ionizing radiation can either induce malformation (teratogenic) or cancer. They should be exposed only when it is safe for the fetus or when the benefit far outweighs the risk in urgent medical conditions. The radiation dose in medical imaging is generally below the threshold to induce malformation (100 mGy) in the fetus, but there is indeed no safe level as the risk of cancer induction later in life can occur at any dose. The referring physician must obtain the last menstrual period (LMP) and sometimes carry out pregnancy test before sending their patients for examinations using ionizing radiation. However, there are circumstances in which these rules are waived. Objective: The purpose of the study is to evaluate the role of the referring physician in the radiation protection of the fetus using the LMP. Subjects and Methods: This is a prospective study over a 2-month period. All the request forms of menstruating women aged 12-50 years sent for conventional radiography are included in the study. Results: One percent provided the LMP in the request forms. 0.6% (one) of our subjects was sure she is pregnant, but 13.7% (25) had an overdue menstruation. Conclusion: The level of compliance of the physicians with the referral guidelines for women of reproductive age is poor.

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