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      Covenant testing new radiation protection system

      Cardiologists and employees at Covenant HealthCare recently finished customer preference testing of a new radiation protection system for use in catheterization labs. Known as Trinity, the system eliminates the requirement for cardiologists and assisting technologists to wear heavy lead apparel in the cath lab while performing diagnostic and interventional procedures. The difference is like night and day, especially after working 12 or more hours. It TMs much more comfortable to perform a catheterization without the added weight of a lead vest, explained Peter Fattal, MD, a non-interventional cardiologist who practices at Covenant. Cardiac catheterization is an invasive imaging procedure that allows a cardiologist to see how well the heart is functioning. During the test, a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the patient TMs groin and guided to the heart with the aid of X-ray equipment. Contrast dye is injected through the catheter so that X-ray videos of the patient TMs valves, coronary arteries and heart chambers can be created. Because of X-ray use during the procedure, physicians, nurses and technologists must wear protective lead aprons.

      ECLS developed the shielding system in response to growing concern about possible health hazards in the interventional laboratory environment. The major American physician societies recently published a consensus statement about these risks, concluding that physicians and industry should work together to minimize radiation exposure while also eliminating the need to wear protective vests. Lead aprons only partially protect the cardiologists and technologists from radiation exposure. With Trinity, we have produced a device that has been proven to fully protect them from radiation and it eliminates the discomfort of working with the lead aprons, said Gary Kilman, vice president of Sales and Marketing for ECLS.The Trinity System of Complete Radiation Protection consists of an upper and lower shield that provides floor-to-ceiling protection from radiation. The upper shield is a ceiling suspended lead barrier with vertical, longitudinal and lateral movement in tandem with x-ray table movement. The lower shield is a mobile floor unit that integrates with the table and upper shield. The system accommodates the full range of required motion of the C-arm gantry and allows the physician to maintain contact with the patient. It can be detached, folded and parked away from the table during patient loading and for storage when not in use, Kilman added. Customized sterile draping creates a sterile barrier between the patient and the system. It is compatible with all major floor mounted cath lab systems.We were delighted to be selected as the testing site, said Kevin Birchmeier, director of Cardiovascular Services. Covenant is committed to continuously improving our services and providing leading edge equipment and technology. Our physicians and employees are very optimistic about this product.Radiation scatter was measured at multiple locations with and without the shield. Typical techniques for fluoroscopy and digital cine were used. Results confirmed that the Trinity system provides complete protection without lead apparel and has received approval from the State of Michigan.Based on feedback received during testing, ECLS will modify parts of the system for ease of use. The shield will be reinstalled at Covenant sometime in January 2010. Future uses of the product may include neuro surgery, EP labs and interventional radiology procedures. The product is manufactured by Contour Fabricators, Inc. located in Fenton, Michigan.