Abstract Over the last decade, there was a substantial increase in the number of interventional cardiology procedures worldwide, and the corresponding ionizing radiation doses for both the medical staff and patients became a subject of concern. Interventional procedures in cardiology are normally very complex, resulting in long exposure times. Also, these interventions require the operator to work near the patient and, consequently, close to the primary X-ray beam. Moreover, due to the scattered radiation from the patient and the equipment, the medical staff is also exposed to a non-uniform radiation field that can lead to a significant exposure of sensitive body organs and tissues, such as the eye lens, the thyroid and the extremities. In order to better understand the spatial variation of the dose and dose rate distributions during an interventional cardiology procedure, the dose distribution around a C-arm fluoroscopic system, in operation in a cardiac cath lab at Portuguese Hospital, was estimated using both Monte Carlo (MC) simulations and dosimetric measurements. To model and simulate the cardiac cath lab, including the fluoroscopic equipment used to execute interventional procedures, the state-of-the-art MC radiation transport code MCNPX 2.7.0 was used. Subsequently, Thermo-Luminescent Detector (TLD) measurements were performed, in order to validate and support the simulation results obtained for the cath lab model. The preliminary results presented in this study reveal that the cardiac cath lab model was successfully validated, taking into account the good agreement between MC calculations and TLD measurements. The simulated results for the isodose curves related to the C-arm fluoroscopic system are also consistent with the dosimetric information provided by the equipment manufacturer (Siemens). The adequacy of the implemented computational model used to simulate complex procedures and map dose distributions around the operator and the medical staff is discussed, in view of the optimization principle (and the associated ALARA objective), one of the pillars of the international system of radiological protection.