Answer to Question #11644 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Policy, Guidelines, and Regulations — Radiation Safety Issues

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


Is there any law that would apply to allowing a family member in an interventional radiology suite during a procedure?


Yes, the law requires that any member of the public (such as a family member) cannot be exposed to more than 1.0 millisievert (mSv) in a year from a facility's use of radiation. There may be a good chance that this legal limit could be exceeded for a family member standing in the interventional radiology suite, where a fluoroscopic x-ray machine is guiding the operational procedure being performed.

The family member's radiation exposure will depend upon (1) the design of the interventional radiology suite, (2) the procedure being done, (3) the time it takes to do the surgery, and (4) the distance the person would stand from the patient. The hospital's radiation safety officer would have to determine if the family member would exceed the limit of 1.0 mSv.

Also, whether or not a family member will be allowed in the suite will depend on the hospital's policy and upon the doctor's approval. The interventional radiology suite is an operating room where sterile conditions are required, which is also an important factor in whether a family member is allowed to be present.

John Hageman, CHP

Ask the Experts is posting answers using only SI (the International System of Units) in accordance with international practice. To convert these to traditional units we have prepared a conversion table. You can also view a diagram to help put the radiation information presented in this question and answer in perspective. Explanations of radiation terms can be found here.
Answer posted on 29 July 2016. 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.