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Health: ENEA project for reducing exposure from X-rays

Minimizing unnecessary overexposure to artificial ionizing radiation used in radiology by improving the accuracy of doses delivered to patients is the objective of the project TraMeXi - comprising ENEA among its participants -, which aims to reduce radiation-related risks in patients exposed to X-rays. To protect people against the dangers arising from exposure the European Directive 2013/59/Euratom requires optimisation of radiotherapy with dosimetry.

The results of the project, funded under the European Partnership for Metrology (part of the Horizon Europe Programme), will provide standardized calibration and measurement procedures and encourage the updating of rules, protocols and guidelines. The documents updated by the project partners will finally be reported in the regulations issued by the competent bodies, with benefits for the medical diagnostics industry, healthcare facilities and, above all, patients.

 “The outcomes of the project will create a new, tracked, accurate and safer basis for X-ray imaging dosimetry” – said ENEA project manager Massimo Pinto and Alessia Ciccotelli, at the National Institute of Metrology of Ionizing Radiations (NUC-INMRI) of the Nuclear Department. “Based on the comparative analysis of the performance of the various dosimeters on the market and updating the calibration conditions, a harmonized radiation measurement procedure of the X-ray doses commonly used in the radiology departments of hospital facilities is defined. This will allow us to validate updated and higher quality calibration protocols."

During a recent TraMeXI meeting, held in Rome at the Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital, also attended by the ENEA National Institute of Ionizing Radiation Metrology, the results of the surveys circulated in recent months in hospitals and calibration centers were analysed. A number of radiation fields critical for medical imaging and a set of commercial dosimeters have been identified, which provide the basis for experimental work in the coming months in the laboratories of the European institutes participating in the project.

Furthermore, machinery for pediatric radiological diagnostics was made available to researchers for comparison, with multiple measurement techniques, on the problems that arise when measurement methods designed for calibration laboratories need to be transfered to the clinical context. For instance, the radiation fields used in calibration laboratories, as well as for the NUC-INMRI, can be significantly different from those used in fluoroscopy, CT scans and the most advanced mammographic techniques, in continuous technological evolution.

For more information please contact:

Massimo Pinto, ENEA - Nuclear Department, National Institute of Metrology of Ionizing Radiations, NUC-INMRI,

Alessia Ciccotelli, ENEA - Dipartimento Nucleare, Nuclear Department, National Institute of Metrology of Ionizing Radiations, NUC-INMRI,