Radiation Exposure During Continuous and Pulsed Fluoroscopy

J Endourol. 2013 Mar;27(3):384-8. doi: 10.1089/end.2012.0213. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


Abstract Background and Purpose: Previous studies using pulsed fluoroscopy have shown variable effects on radiation exposure because of the ramp and trail effect in older C-arm systems. This study compares radiation delivered in pulsed and continuous modalities using a modern C-arm system.

Materials and methods: Thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) positioned in three body locations directly measured radiation dose during simulated ureteroscopy. Thirty pedal activations were administered using a pulsed or continuous mode to visualize an implanted guidewire and a radiopaque stone. TLD absorbed radiation and image quality were compared between imaging modes.

Results: Pulsed fluoroscopy delivered less radiation compared with continuous fluoroscopy at each site: Anterior skin (0.10 vs 0.26 mGy, P<0.001), kidney (0.15 vs 0.40 mGy, P<0.001), and posterior skin (0.92 vs 2.62 mGy, P<0.001). Mean fluoroscopy time differed between continuous and pulsed modes (12.5 vs 3.0 seconds; P<0.001). Fluoroscopy time positively correlated with radiation exposure at all sites: Anterior skin (0.017 mGy/s, R(2)=0.90), left kidney (0.026 mGy/s, R(2)=0.96), and posterior skin (0.18 mGy/sec, R(2)=0.98). When evaluated by blinded urologists, 100% of reviewers felt pulsed images were adequate to identify guidewire position and 90.5% felt pulsed images were adequate for stone localization.

Conclusion: Pulsed fluoroscopy reduced fluoroscopy time by 76% and radiation dose by 64% compared with continuous fluoroscopy. Pulsed fluoroscopy images were adequate for most tasks of ureteroscopy and should be considered for reduction of radiation during ureteroscopy.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted