Navigation Links
Medical Tests Hit Heart Patients With High Doses of Radiation
Date:11/16/2009

Average amount more than five times higher than annual exposure outside hospital, study shows

MONDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Heart attack patients arriving at the hospital typically receive the radiation equivalent of 725 chest X-rays from medical tests during that single hospital stay, new research shows.

The average exposure was 14.5 millisieverts (mSv), about one-third the annual maximum of 50 mSv allowed radiation workers and more than five times the amount of background radiation Americans get from just going about their business in any given year.

Although the amount may sound alarming, it's not at all clear at this point whether these dosages actually increase health risk, particularly the likelihood of developing cancer, said the Duke University researchers, who plan to present their findings Monday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

"We have to weigh the potential risk of radiation against the risk of not doing anything, and the risk would be very substantial, especially in these patients who were gravely ill," said Dr. Thomas Gerber, a spokesman for the heart association and a professor of medicine and radiation at the Mayo Clinic, in Jacksonville, Fla. "It's important to realize that nobody has ever been able to show scientifically that radiation at the levels used in medical imaging increase the risk of cancer. These are all theoretical concerns that are mathematically extrapolated from what happened in survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who got so much more radiation."

"The actual biological effects of radiation are an ongoing question," added study author Dr. Prashant Kaul, a fellow in cardiovascular medicine at Duke. "The risks of causing cancer at the radiation dose levels we're talking about is actually uncertain."

The findings arrive in the context of several other recent studies that have shown that patients of all kinds are being exposed to large amounts of radiation from medical imaging procedures.

According to background information in this study, radiation exposure from medical imaging procedures exploded more than 700 percent between 1980 and 2006. One-third of these were cardiovascular procedures.

"Up to this point, we've been thinking about radiation as it relates to an individual imaging test. We think it's appropriate to think of radiation dose per episode of care," Kaul said.

More than 64,000 patients treated for heart attacks at one of about 50 university hospitals over a three-and-a-half year period underwent almost 277,000 procedures involving ionizing radiation. This represented an average of just over four imaging studies per person, with average cumulative radiation dose of 14.5 mSv.

Cardiac catheterization, one of the most important procedures used by cardiologists, represented at least half of the radiation exposure from all procedures, which was expected, Kaul said. Three-quarters of patients underwent this procedure, which is consistent with the guidelines.

"Also, about 50 percent of patients got CT scans, which is maybe a little higher than expected," Kaul said. But the researchers don't know why the patients were getting these chest, head or all-body scans so they can't determine if they were necessary or not.

A head CT delivers 2 mSv, a body CT delivers 10 mSv and a chest scan delivers 7 mSv, he said. A diagnostic catheterization gives about 7 mSv and putting a stent into an artery adds another 8 mSv, on average.

"In the absence of definitive data, most authorities still recommend a conservative strategy following the ALARA [as low as reasonable achievable] principle," Kaul stated. "We would like to increase awareness among physicians so when they're ordering tests involving ionizing radiation, they're thinking about this. At the end of the day, we want to be sure we're ordering the right test for the right patient in a given clinical scenario."

"You see, the potential risk of radiation differs in a patient with no symptoms who comes to the doctor for a regular check-up. For them, a stress test probably would not be meaningful but it's also different if you're a 20-year-old woman or an 80-year-old man," Gerber added.

More information

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has more on ionizing radiation.



SOURCES: Prashant Kaul, M.D., fellow, cardiovascular medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; Thomas Gerber, M.D., professor, medicine and radiology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.; Nov. 16, 2009, presentation, American Heart Association annual meeting, Orlando, Fla.


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. MSU engineering team designs innovative medical device
2. ATS Medical to Present at the 2007 Thomas Weisel Partners Healthcare Conference
3. Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, Caregivers Reach Agreement on a Union Contract
4. Owner and Operator of Florida Durable Medical Equipment Company Convicted of Medicare Fraud
5. Father and Daughter From Tanzania Receive Their First Medical Examination in Newport Beach
6. Doctors and medical ethicist discuss whether doctors should participate in capital punishment
7. Preparation for Natural Disasters Critical for People With Diabetes, Chronic Medical Conditions
8. Doctors and Medical Ethicist Discuss Whether Doctors Should Participate in Capital Punishment
9. Symmetry Medical Completes Acquisition Of Specialty Surgical Instruments
10. Milestone Scientific Announces Successful Completion of its Collaboration Agreement With Carticept Medical
11. FDA Seeks to Regulate Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Products Such as Vegetable Juice Could Be Restricted for Medical Use
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... Many families have long-term insurance that covers care for a family ... for care if the client has a cognitive impairment diagnosis. , “What this ... often waived, so the benefits from their insurance start immediately,” said Mechell Vieira, owner ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Talented host, actor Rob Lowe, is introducing ... new episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning educational program broadcasted on ... subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 ... characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... Asante, a nationally recognized health system ... their existing home health joint venture through an agreement, effective October 1, 2017, ... venture home health company with Asante, delivering clinically integrated care, for the past ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Chapel, FL (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... is holding a treadmill relay – Miles by Moonlight to raise money for the ... donating $300 or more. , Teams will work together to keep their treadmills ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/7/2017)... 2017   Provista, a proven leader in ... in purchasing power, today announced a new resource area ... Newsroom is the online home for case studies, ... bios, news releases, slideshows and events. ... of resources at their fingertips, viewers can also watch ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... , Oct. 4, 2017  According to the Centers for Disease ... end of October . PhysicianOne Urgent Care is helping communities across ... Westchester, NY , by offering no-cost* flu shots through the end ... mandated by certain health insurance regulations. ... The best time to get a flu shot is by the end ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY ) will ... 2017 on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. Lilly will also ... investment community and media to further detail the company,s ... at 9 a.m. Eastern time. Investors, media and the ... conference call through a link that will be posted ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: