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ASRT Statement on Fetal and Gonadal Shielding

Jan 12, 2021

Since the spring of 2019, the ASRT Board of Directors has engaged in multiple, in-depth discussions on the issue of discontinuing the use of fetal and gonadal shielding during medical diagnostic x-ray procedures.

Recommendations from the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements announced on Jan. 12, 2020, support an end to shielding specifically during abdominal and pelvic radiography. After review of the latest empirical research and in consideration of the recent information from the NCRP, the 2019 AAPM Position Statement (PP 32-A) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s action to rescind its longstanding gonadal shielding recommendation (21 CFR part 1000.50), the Board has concluded that shielding the fetus and/or gonads during abdominal and pelvic radiography may result in a risk of repeat exposure. This risk outweighs any potential benefit from the limited reduction in patient dose from a shield placed within or near the exposed field.

Consistent with our commitment to a culture of radiation safety, it is the ASRT Board’s position that it is appropriate to discontinue shielding for abdominal and pelvic imaging when the exam is performed by a registered radiologic technologist.

The ASRT Board is committed to working with all of our partner organizations to design and disseminate educational materials to help inform the public about the extremely low dose from certain radiologic procedures and ASRT’s ongoing focus on patient safety through comprehensive radiation protection practices.

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