Dartmouth-Hitchcock stops using lead aprons for X-rays

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Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health has ended the use of routine lead apron shielding for X-rays, the Lebanon, N.H.-based health system said May 10. 

The change, which has taken effect at all Dartmouth-Hitchcock facilities, coincides with a shift in guidelines first championed by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and the American College of Radiology.

"Studies have shown that shielding patients provides very little to no benefit," Michael Timmerman, radiation safety officer at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, said in a news release. "When a patient receives an X-ray, we take care to only irradiate the area necessary for the exam."

Advancements in imaging equipment now allow X-rays to produce high-quality images by using very small amounts of radiation. Since the 1950s, the amount of radiation used in medical imaging has fallen by more than 95 percent, the system said.

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