Interventional fluoroscopy uses ionizing radiation to guide small instruments such as catheters through blood vessels or other pathways in the body. Interventional fluoroscopy represents a tremendous advantage over invasive surgical procedures, because it requires only a very small incision, substantially reduces the risk of infection and allows for shorter recovery time compared to surgical procedures. These interventions are used by a rapidly expanding number of health care providers in a wide range of medical specialties. However, many of these specialists have little training in radiation science or protection measures.
The growing use and increasing complexity of these procedures have been accompanied by public health concerns resulting from the increasing radiation exposure to both patients and health care personnel. The rise in reported serious skin injuries and the expected increase in late effects such as lens injuries and cataracts, and possibly cancer, make clear the need for information on radiation risks and on strategies to control radiation exposures to patients and health care providers. This guide discusses the value of these interventions, the associated radiation risk and the importance of optimizing radiation dose.