A growing concern in applying radial access in cardiac catheterisation is the increased operator radiation exposure. This study used an anthropomorphic phantom to simulate transradial and transfemoral coronary angiography with optimised radiation protection conditions. Operator radiation exposure was measured with thermoluminescent dosemeters at predefined locations. Compared with the femoral route, the radial route was associated with a dose decrease of 15 % at the operator's chest level with optimised radiation shielding. However, radiation exposure to the operator's hand remained significantly higher when applying radial access even with collective protective equipment used (by a factor of 2). Furthermore, the efficiency of operator radiation protection was found to be dependent on the tube incidence. Awareness should be raised about the significant increase of radiation exposure to operators' hands in transradial coronary angiography. Protection to reduce the dose level to the hands is necessary and should be further improved.

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