Use of personal protective equipment in a radiology room at a veterinary teaching hospital
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The use of personal protective equipment by veterinary workers during radiographic imaging is inconsistent. While the self-reported use of leaded aprons and thyroid shields approaches 100% in some studies, the use of leaded gloves and eyeglasses is much lower. Previous studies describing personal protective equipment use are based on self-reporting. Objectives of this prospective, observational study were to describe use of leaded personal protective equipment during radiographic imaging by veterinary workers, and to compare observed use with self-reported use. Use of leaded personal protective equipment during radiographic imaging by veterinary workers was observed over a 10week period using two motion-triggered video cameras, and a questionnaire was then completed by workers on their use of personal protective equipment. Workers restrained the animal during 91.8% (753/820) of exposures. An apron and a securely closed thyroid shield were worn for>99% of studies. Gloves were used correctly for 43.6% (156/358) of radiographic studies. Leaded eyeglasses were worn for 1.7% (6/358) of studies. Correct glove use was more frequent during regular working hours than after-hours for both veterinarians (odds ratio 32.7, P=0.001) and veterinary students (odds ratio 75.1, P<0.001). The number of workers in the room was lower when animals were sedated (P=0.002) or anesthetized (P=0.017). Workers overestimated their frequency of glove use (P<0.001). In conclusion, workers use personal protective equipment less frequently in an unsupervised environment, and overestimate their use of personal protective equipment. Use of sedation or anesthesia decreases worker exposure to ionizing radiation.