Answer to Question #10549 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues — Diagnostic X Ray and CT

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

I just had a modified barium swallow and an esphogram. The speech therapist brought me into the x-ray room and went over the procedure and told me the doctor would only be a few minutes. One and a half hours later, the doctor arrived. I was waiting all that time where the x-ray equipment was located. The speech therapist was in and out of the room and was wearing a lead vest. Have I been exposed to radiation while waiting for the doctor in the x-ray room?

No, the x-ray equipment would not have been generating x rays while you were waiting. X-ray machines have a “dead man” switch which means that x rays are only generated when someone is actively pressing the switch (either a button or a foot pedal). If the switch is not being pressed, the equipment is in standby and not generating x rays.

Kent Lambert, CHP

Answer posted on 23 January 2013. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.