Beaumont Cath Lab Features Michigan-Made Tech To Protect Caregivers

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Radiation safety officer Cheryl Schultz tests for radiation exposure in the cardiac cath lab with the shielding system in place. Beaumont Health System photo.

Radiation safety officer Cheryl Schultz tests for radiation exposure in the cardiac cath lab with the shielding system in place. Beaumont Health System photo.

ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – A new heart catheterization laboratory at Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak features advanced cardiovascular imaging capabilities to improve patient care, and a first-in-the-world, made-in-Michigan shielding system to protect caregivers from radiation exposure and occupational injuries.

The 673-square-foot cardiac catheterization suite was developed through a $1 million gift from Robert Rossiter, retired chairman, CEO and president of Lear Corp., and his wife Pamela, in appreciation for care provided for his parents at Beaumont.

“The Rossiters’ generous support has allowed us to build a one-of-a-kind cardiac catheterization laboratory for treating patients with complex heart and vascular disease,” said Simon Dixon, M.D., Beaumont Health System chair, Cardiovascular Medicine.

Dixon says the new lab’s X-ray imaging equipment, the Siemens Artis Q.zen angiography system, is the first of its kind in the country, providing higher quality images of tiny vessels in the heart during diagnostic and interventional procedures.

The lab’s first-in-the-world Trinity-Guard radiation shielding system is manufactured by CFI Medical in Fenton. Beaumont is the first to install Trinity-Guard and is testing its effectiveness in reducing radiation exposure for catheterization lab doctors, nurses and technicians.

Accumulated radiation exposure is one of the occupational health hazards of working in a catheterization laboratory where fluoroscopic imaging is used to obtain real-time, moving X-ray images of a patient’s internal structures. Potential adverse effects of ongoing radiation exposure for cath lab employees include cancers and cataracts.

Cath lab personnel wear lead aprons, weighing 15 to 20 pounds, to protect themselves from radiation exposure. But the weight of wearing the protective equipment places them at high risk of orthopedic injuries, especially to the spine.

The Trinity-Guard system uses fixed upper and lower shields and interconnecting drapes to provide a radiation barrier for cath lab staff, with the goal of producing a radiation-free operating environment and eliminating the wearing of lead aprons.

Beaumont is conducting detailed testing of the Trinity-Guard system and its effectiveness in preventing radiation exposure to cath lab personnel. Test data will be submitted for state approval of the shielding system. If approved, X-ray operators in the new lab will no longer have to wear lead radiation shielding aprons when the Trinity-Guard system is used.

Patient radiation exposure in the cath lab is typically limited and episodic. However, Beaumont has also taken steps to improve radiation safety for patients in the cath lab and during other medical procedures. This includes participation in the “Imaging Wisely” campaign of the American College of Radiology and Radiological Society of North America.

Beaumont Royal Oak is a high-volume cardiac catheterization center performing 5,271 diagnostic and interventional procedures in 2012.

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