[ RadSafe ] In utero dose

Keith Welch welch at jlab.org
Tue Apr 18 08:48:57 CDT 2006

I have some questions for you medical experts.  I'm curious what 
guidelines are used when there is a case requiring x-rays of a pregnant 
female.  Let me give you a hypothetical case.  Let's say a woman is 
injured in an auto accidedent, has some internal injuries and broken 
bones.  She's 12 weeks pregnant.  To treat her injuries, she needs 
surgery and a series of radiographs.  Are there generally accepted and 
well known standards that physicians refer to in order to advise 
patients and determine a course of treatment?  ARe there risk-based 
guidelines in place and widely known to general surgeons and 
practicioners?  How common is it for a surgeon to seek the advice of an 
HP or MP to assess the risks of such procedures?   My impression of the 
handling of "routine" x-rays is that if a woman is pregnant, x-rays are 
always postponed, just to be conservative.  But in a case where there is 
a pressing need to preserve health, how is the decision to conduct the 
x-rays arrived at?  How are these risks weighed?  What is the typical 
"standard of care"?  Is there an agreed dose at which the patient is 
advised to terminate the pregnancy?

Keith Welch

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