Awareness and knowledge of risks associated with ionizing radiation among patients presenting at the radiology department of Mulago hospital
Naluyimba, Eva Winnifred
Ssekimuli, Emmanuel Joash
Ozelle, Sharon Giramiya
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Background Many outpatient and inpatient departments broadly utilize imaging during assessment and have become a standard procedure in the field of medicine. However, there are increasing concerns recently expressed that patients undergoing CT, X-ray, and nuclear medicine imaging have insufficient knowledge about radiation, which information highly influences proper medical decisions of patients with informed consent in Sub-Saharan Africa. Patients undergoing imaging studies using ionizing radiation should be aware of the biological risks. Objectives To assess the awareness of patients on the risks of ionizing radiation To assess the knowledge of patients on the risks of ionizing radiation Methods We used a quantitative method of research and tools like questionnaires to do the survey and collect the data. We included patients by consecutive sampling in the study. Data was collected using an adapted structured questionnaire. Data was entered into Kobo Collect and exported to STATA 16 for analysis. Data was summarized into frequencies and percentages for categorical data and into means and medians for continuous variables. Results Out of the 100 participants, women were 52%, whereas men were 48%. Also, most of the respondents were of Christianity faith mainly Catholic (35%), Anglican(22%), and others (17%). The Moslems had the lowest turnup percentage (8%).27%% of surveyed patients knew that CT and conventional x-ray rely on ionizing radiation, and they got this knowledge via the internet, 15% got to know this via interaction with the medical staff,19% from books, 14% from media, and 3%from relatives. In regards to patient radiation protection, 56% of the patients never used any shielding or protective tools, 22% and 8% respectively have used lead aprons and lead gloves during radiologic processes and 3% have used thyroid shields. Educational level; 63% of patients had reached the university level,11% tertiary institutions, and 5% secondary level. On assessing knowledge among patients, the shared information on the risks and effects of ionizing radiation was low as compared to information about benefits only and those not informed at all topped the results. Most patients(70%) did not know the radiation dose. 22% of patients also did not know the effects of ionizing radiation during pregnancy. patients knew about the effects of the X radiation such as increased incidence of cancer(49%), may increase chances of damage to human cells(49%), increased incidence of reduced life span(37%), fetal anomalies in utero (33%) and may reduce fertility more in men(27%). Conclusion There is a lack of awareness regarding the use and effects of ionizing radiation in Uganda. Patients as well as caretakers do not know the risks of radiation exposure. There is a need to sensitize patients about medical radiation exposure on every visit through brochures, charts at imaging departments, and interactive decision-making with the medical imaging team regarding the choice of imaging modality to undertake.