News Flash > Cardiovascular Health


Heart Scan: Harmful Radiation?

Reported February 10, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- An imaging device for the heart may be exposing patients to harmful doses of radiation, a recent study shows.

An international team of researchers from 21 university hospitals and 29 community hospitals looked at almost 2,000 patients undergoing CCTA between February and December 2007. They found the average dose of radiation was equivalent to radiation from 600 chest X-rays. However, radiation doses varied greatly at each location.

Cardiac computed tomography angiography (CCTA) is a diagnostic tool used to check for coronary artery disease. It has also been suggested as a diagnostic tool for patients who come into the emergency room complaining of chest pains. By scanning 64 images per rotation, CCTA produces a detailed, three-dimensional image of the heart.



Experts say the practicability of CCTA for the assessment of coronary artery disease has to be weighed against its radiation exposure and the small but potential risk of cancer.

"Many clinicians may still be unfamiliar with how much radiation exposure is received during CCTA in daily practice and with the factors that contribute to radiation doses," study authors wrote.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2009;301(5):545-547