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HonorHealth Research Institute is Arizona’s first to adopt new radiation protection technology in treatment of heart disease

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | March 21, 2023 Cardiology Rad Oncology
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.-- HonorHealth Research Institute announced today that it is among the first healthcare providers in the U.S., and the first in Arizona, to use an advanced radiation protection system as part of the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

Modern cardiac catheterization laboratories use multiple X-ray beams from different angles to produce high-quality images of the heart, major arteries and other tissues. These low-level radiation beams enable physicians to guide catheters and other devices during interventional cardiology procedures, which are non-surgical, catheter-based therapies for patients who do not require open-heart surgery.

While generally considered safe, repeated exposure to low-level radiation over time presents a potential cancer risk to doctors, nurses and other catheterization laboratory staff. Current standard radiation protection for operating room personnel — a lead apron — offers no protection to the head and face, with suboptimal shielding of the extremities, creating a potential risk of cataracts and certain cancers. In addition, the weight of the lead apron has been associated with orthopedic injury of the spine, hips and knees.

In a recently completed study at HonorHealth Research Institute, investigators found that the new radiation protection system called Protego® significantly reduces overall room radiation, and in most cases eliminates exposure to physicians and nurses. The findings published today in the Journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (JSCAI) may have a profound impact on reducing radiation exposure to healthcare workers. In nearly 70% of the cases, radiation exposure to the physicians and nurses was so low as to be “undetectable” using real-time dosimetry.

Dr. David G. Rizik, director of the Cardiovascular Research Division at HonorHealth Research Institute, likened the use of radiological equipment without the protection of radiation shields to football teams playing without helmets.

“Since the first college football game in 1869, there have been dramatic equipment improvements to enhance the safety of the game and reduce injury to athletes. Yet, interventional cardiology — one of the most advanced fields of medical science over the last half-century — has made no substantive changes in how to protect physicians and nurses who perform interventional procedures,” said Dr. Rizik, who served as the clinical trial’s principal investigator and lead author of the study published today in JSCAI. “I am so very proud that HonorHealth is leading the way in this important field of research.”

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