The magazine, Cardiovascular Business, published an article last September about radiation exposure to sonographers from patients who had previously undergone a cardiac stress test using a radionuclide. The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) conducted a survey of 90 sonographers, and 63% percent (or about 56 of the 90 polled) said, “radiation safety is of concern.”
This Health Physics Society article written by Kelly Classic describes the general dose expected for sonographers performing echocardiography shortly after a nuclear medicine stress test.
In keeping with ALARA, it’s best to schedule all echocardiography procedures before nuclear stress tests. Based on the conservative assumptions and calculations of Ms. Classic, a sonographer has minimal risk from performing his or her duties in proximity to a nuclear stress test patient. There’s always the option of badging the sonographer to alleviate concerns and demonstrate the effective dose levels involved.