According to a recent report from the American Heart Association's "Rapid Access Journal," health care workers who work in cardiac catheterization labs may have higher chances of developing certain health problems because of radiation exposure.
These health problems include skin lesions, orthopedic illness, cancers and cataracts. The estimated radiation exposure rates were highest for electrophysiologists and interventional cardiologists.
“For experienced, busy interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists, annual exposure to radiation is around five millisievert (mSv, a unit of measure for radiation’s biological effects),” Dr. Maria Andreassi, lead author of the study, said.
Scientists estimate that intensive training for protecting against the radiation exposure may be able to reduce the occupational doses. This may be the most effective way to decrease these health concerns.
“Occupational doses of radiation in cardiovascular procedures guided by fluoroscopy are the highest doses registered among medical staff using X-rays,” Andreassi said. “Interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists have a two to three times higher annual exposure than that of radiologists, as they are closer to the radiological source and experience radiation exposure with the patient, whereas diagnostic radiologists are generally shielded from radiation exposure.”