ESR News March 2016

Radiation Protection Sessions at the European Congress of Radiology

John Damilakis, Professor of Medical Physics

The European Congress of Radiology (ECR) 2016 was held in Vienna, Austria, recently with great success in every regard. This year, the ECR had the highest attendance ever. The educational programme illuminated all important areas and subjects, and, once again, lectures were streamed, totally free of charge. Among the many scientific topics covered by the congress, highlights included important developments in medical radiation protection. Although it is very difficult to pick out specific sessions, I will briefly describe here the EuroSafe Imaging activities and a few very interesting radiation protection sessions.

EuroSafe Imaging activities at the ECR were plenty this year. Delegates were able to get important information about the campaign and its initiatives from the EuroSafe Imaging information booth in the entrance hall, visit the EuroSafe Imaging poster exhibition on the first floor of the congress centre and attend EuroSafe Imaging scientific sessions. Emphasis was given to the ‘EuroSafe Imaging Stars’ initiative, designed to identify and recognise imaging facilities fulfilling certain criteria of quality and radiation safety across Europe. One requirement for EuroSafe Imaging Stars is to participate in the ‘Is Your Imaging EuroSafe?’ surveys on doses from CT examinations. Secondly, participating departments will conduct a self-assessment test every two years to determine how many criteria they fulfill and to keep track of their progress. The ESR will support Stars in improving radiation safety, giving them visibility through the ESR’s channels. More information about this initiative can be found at The EuroSafe Imaging poster exhibition moved to an electronic format this year, utilising the ESR’s Electronic Presentation Online System (EPOS) tools. Delegates had the opportunity to view the posters from the terminals in the ECR Online and EPOS Lounge. These posters were also available online through EPOS for those who were not able to join the meeting. Another main activity of the EuroSafe Imaging campaign at ECR 2016 was the organisation of four scientific sessions on important areas such as dose optimisation, implementation of the new EU BSS Directive, and research in medical radiation protection. All sessions were well-attended. Moreover, a number of other sessions on radiation protection were also promoted as part of the campaign.

EFOMP organises a workshop in close collaboration with the ESR, each year, consisting of two sessions on a topic of mutual interest for radiologists and medical physicists. This year, the workshop was on radiation protection for female patients and female medical staff. The first session was on breast imaging modalities and radiation dose. Invited speakers presented the physics and technology of new breast imaging modalities such as digital breast tomosynthesis and breast CT. Important information was given on breast dose levels from these modalities. Moreover, radiogenic risks associated with digital mammography for screening and diagnosis of breast cancer were presented. The second session was on pregnancy and lactation. Information was given on how to manage pregnant patients requiring diagnostic x-ray and interventional procedures as well as nuclear medicine examinations. Issues related to the administration of radiopharmaceuticals to nursing mothers were discussed. Moreover, participants were informed about dose limits and regulations regarding occupational exposure of pregnant staff working with radiation. Both sessions were attended not only by medical physicists but also by many radiologists and radiographers.

There were also other courses included in the programme related to medical radiation protection. For example, the Physics in Radiology programme included lectures on doses from multi-energy CT, how to assess and communicate examination risks to patients and referring physicians, CT dose optimisation, and dose tracking and workflow organisation.

The Congress Committee, the Programme Planning Committee and the ESR office cooperated to organise a very successful meeting. The programme was exciting and offered a complete learning experience in medical radiation protection in line with the most up-to-date research, with options to suit the professional needs not only of radiologists but also of medical physicists and radiographers.