Background The prevalence of women physicians is steadily rising, but the field of neurointervention remains one of the most male-dominated subspecialties in medicine. A fear of radiation exposure, particularly during pregnancy and childbearing years, may be responsible for deterring some of the best and brightest. This is the first study to examine the amount of maternal and fetal radiation exposure during a pregnant neurointerventional fellow’s training.
Methods We retrospectively analyzed the radiation exposure of a neurointerventional fellow prior to and during pregnancy from February 2018 to May 2019 in 758 neurointerventional cases. The collar dosimeter was used to measure overall maternal exposure and an additional fetal dosimeter was worn under two lead apron skirts to estimate fetal radiation exposure.
Results There was not a significant difference between pre- and post-pregnancy overall maternal radiation exposure as measured by the collar dosimeter (151 mrem pre-pregnancy and 105 mrem during pregnancy, p=0.129). Mean fluoroscopy time and fluoroscopy emission per procedure also did not differ prior to and during pregnancy. Fetal radiation exposure measurements from both the Mirion Genesis Ultra TLD dosimeter as well as the Mirion Instadose dosimeters worn under double lead apron skirts were 0 mrem for all 6 months.
Conclusion These findings suggest that, when optimal radiation safety practices are implemented, the fetal dose of a pregnant neurointerventionalist is negligible. Further studies and education are necessary to encourage women to choose neurointervention and allow practicing women neurointerventionalists to maintain their productivity during their reproductive years.
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Contributors All authors contributed to the conception, data gathering, and drafting of the manuscript. All authors critically reviewed the manuscript and approved its final submission.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Individual de-identified participant data will be shared upon reasonable request.