Use of out-of-field contact shielding on patients in medical imaging: A review of current guidelines, recommendations and legislative documents

Cristian Candela-Juan, Olivera F. Ciraj-Bjelac, Marta Sans-Mercé, Jérémie Dabin, Dario Faj, Aoife Gallagher, Hugo de las Heras Gala, Zeljka Knezevic, Françoise L. Malchair, Francesca De Monte, Georgios Simantirakis, Chrysoula Theodorakou

Research outputpeer-review


The use of patient contact-shielding has become a topic of intensive scientific debate. While it has been common practice during the last decades, some studies have questioned the efficiency of using such shielding while others have highlighted the inconsistencies in its application. The objective of this work is to review current recommendations and legislative documents on the use of out-of-field shielding in X-ray imaging, including those from national authorities and from international and national organisations and professional bodies. The review, performed within the framework of the activities of EURADOS Working Group 12, covers available recommendations on use of contact shielding in adult, pregnant and paediatric patients in general radiography, fluoroscopy, computed tomography, mammography and dental radiology. It includes a comprehensive search of 83 documents from 32 countries and 6 international organisations over the last 39 years. In general, using shielding is recommended only under two conditions: if it does not compromise the diagnostic task and the performance of the procedure and/or if it reassures the patient and comforters that they are appropriately protected against potentially harmful effects of radiation. There are very few specific regulatory requirements to use shielding in a particular imaging modality, although they may consider use of shielding either as part of good radiological practice or as requirements for availability of protective or ancillary tools, without further specification of their use. There is a wide variety of positions among documents that recommend out-of-field shielding, those that do not recommend it and those that are not specific. Therefore, evidence-based consensus is still needed to ensure best and consistent practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-56
Number of pages13
JournalPhysica Medica
StatePublished - 27 May 2021

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