Findings of a recent population-based study featured in the Journal of American College of Cardiology (JAAC) suggest cardiac imaging may be putting younger adults at risk due to radiation exposure.
“The study demonstrated that there are sizable rates of radiation exposure for patients 35-54 years, many of whom will likely live long enough for such long-term complications (as malignancy) to potentially develop,” wrote Jersey Chen, MD.
While the results may make cardiologists give further thought to the tests they recommend and alternatives they can use, others point out that the benefits of the test must be weighed against the risks of radiation exposure.
It is very unusual for a patient in this age range to get a cardiac CT scan. But if they do need one, we can now scan them using less than 2 mSv of radiation (compared to 10-25 mSv in 2005).
That means the risk of dying from a cancer induced by the CT scan (1 in 4,000) is about the same as the risk of dying in a car accident if they were to drive 70,000 miles (about 5 years of driving for the average American) which is also about 1 in 4,000.