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Getting Interventionalists back on the job

Few people outside of the healthcare industry would ever realise the injuries that some of our leading surgeons sustain in the performance of their role. 

For decades, interventionalists and their team have relied on heavy lead aprons to protect themselves from radiation. Aprons only offer partial protection, and over time, their weight takes a physical toll, causing everything from fatigue to serious, career-shortening injuries. 

In 2017, the Society of Interventional Radiology: Occupational Back and Neck Pain and the Interventional Radiologist reported that 70 percent of their sample of Interventional Cardiologists experience lower back pain, 40 percent experience neck pain and 42 percent experience both. They concluded that the high prevalence of neck and back pain among interventional radiologists is likely the result of a combination of the chronic effect of wearing protective garments, standing for long periods of time, and maintaining awkward, ergonomically unsound positions. 

The resultant repetitive stress injuries may be disabling. Interventionalists should be aware of this occupational hazard and embrace actions that reduce the risk, including careful design and planning of the interventional suite, attention to monitor and table position and use of shielding systems that reduce or eliminate the need for protective garments.

Fortunately, Rampart is ending the decades old practice of wearing lead aprons and enabling interventionalists to carry on undertaking their lifesaving procedures.

Dr Brendan Steinfort is one such practitioner who has benefited from operating with Rampart. A series of disk injuries incurred has caused increasing discomfort whilst performing some of the most complex surgeries in neurology. The challenges of continuing to wear a heavy lead apron meant that there was a very real prospect that it could impact his ability to work in the future. Fortunately, that has all changed with Brendan and his team earning the honour of being the first Neuro Interventional team in the world to benefit from Rampart.
In an Australian first, Queenslands The Prince Charles Hospital Interventional Cardiologist, Dr Rustem Dautov, worked collaboratively with Metro North Health to introduce Rampart after seeing prominent US interventionalist Dr Stéphane Rinfret, using the technology. Dr Dautov is excited about what the new the technology will mean for clinical practice at TPCH. According to Dr Dautov“As Queensland’s leading cardiac hospital, The Prince Charles Hospital performs many interventional cardiac procedures each year, so will benefit greatly from the new Rampart technology which offers our clinicians greater protection and more comfort.”
University of Washington, Seattle, Interventional Cardiologist Dr Bill Lombardi said “wearing no lead has been the most transformative thing in international cardiology since I saw my first retrograde case in 2005”.
According to Georges Hospital London, Interventional Cardiologist Dr James Spratt “Reduction of occupational injury is a critical initiative in our field. Rampart has seamlessly integrated into our CTO workflow and most importantly, it protects the whole body during these long procedures, including the head, arms and legs which are not covered by lead aprons.
Glenn Ison, Senior Radiation Scientist, St George Hospital, Sydney said “In our recent testing of the Rampart, we saw significant radiation reductions vs. the standard overhead lead shield and wearable lead aprons. It is a promising innovation in protecting our most important resource, our people!”
Emory University, Atlanta Interventional Cardiologist Dr Bill Nicholson, said “I use Rampart for full body protection from radiation and for orthopedic relief. Not just for me, but also for my team.”

Fortunately, for the interventionalists, we’re seeing progressive facilities considering the Rampart technology solution to enable them to ‘shed the lead’.

Given the compelling reasons to do so, we’re hoping that more hospitals and medical facilities will make the change to improve the safety and quality of life for people going about the daily execution of their roles.

To learn more about this revolutionary technology, contact the Wilhelm Team here.