Shielding of patients, foolish or reasonable?


  • Belinda van der Merwe


shielding, pediatric, gonad shield


Radiographers worldwide are challenged to rethink the best practice of shielding in view of a recent paper by Marsh and Solisky.[1] These authors are of the opinion that with the latest digital equipment, due to the utilising of automatic exposure control, patients will receive a higher dose with the shielding. They cite a comment made almost 30 years ago claiming that in terms of shielding, only foolish voices are heard. More reasonable voices should be heard to change the course of training programmes and regulation because there is no benefit in shielding to contribute to the health of a patient. They conclude that it is more reasonable to avoid the shielding of patients whenever possible. A 2014 publication[2] reports on a review of gonad shielding during paediatric radiography. The 130 evaluated images revealed that gonad shielding was often omitted and incorrectly used. These results signposted that gonad shielding was not effective and efficient for female patients, especially when incorrect use of lead shielding results in repeat exposures. The authors concluded that gonad shielding should thus be abandoned for female patients.

Author Biography

Belinda van der Merwe

Department of Clinical Sciences