Intensity of secondary scattered x-rays during x-ray diagnostic procedures in selected diagnostic centres in Uganda
The purpose of the study was to investigate the intensity of secondary scattered X-rays when different body regions; the chest, the abdomen and the lower limbs were exposed to X-rays during radiography. The study used experimental design where the secondary scattered X-ray dose from three diagnostic centres in South Western Uganda were measured us.ing TLDs that were worn at the back of the radiographer. The cards were then read monthly and the process repeated for a period of six months. The number of patients exposed to X-rays for each procedure for the same period was also noted. From the study, it was found that the limb exposures constituted the highest proportion of the patients X-rayed (42%), followed by the chest· (35%) and finally the abdomen (23%). In addition, it was found that the chest exposures generally lead to the highest intensity of secondary scattered X-rays to the radiographers which was 2,670 mSv, 2,756 mSv and 2,505 mSv for Mutolere Hospital, Goodwill Imaging Centre and Mbarara Diagnostic Centre respectively. The limbs contributed the second highest intensity of secondary scattered X-rays (2,442 mSv) at Mutolere Hospital, though generally the abdomen contributed the second highest secondary scattered X-rays (1,712 and 1,294 mSv for Goodwill and Mbarara Diagnostic Centre respectively). The limbs contributed the lowest intensity of secondary scattered X-rays in Goodwill and Mbarara Diagnostic Centre i.e 1,578 and 1,236 mSv respectively. In relation to the safety standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA, 2002), the predicted cumulative annual dose to radiographers from Mutolere Hospital, Goodwill Imaging Centre and Mbarara Diagnostic Centre are 13,704, 11,964 and 10,692 mSv respectively. These values are below the annual dose limit of 20 mSv for radiation worker as recommended by IAEA (IAEA, 2002). This means that the radiographers from the three diagnostic centres are at a low risk of developing stochastic health effects. However, the annual dose from the diagnostic centres could be dangerous if radiographers are exposed over many years in a lifetime.