Heart Scans May Raise Cancer Risk, Study Finds02/07/11
MONDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Heart attack patients who are
exposed to low-dose radiation from cardiac imaging and other
procedures may have an increased risk of cancer, a new study
Canadian researchers analyzed data from 82,861 patients who
survived a heart attack between April 1996 and March 2006 and had
no history of cancer. Within one year of their heart attack, 77
percent of the patients underwent at least one cardiac procedure
with low-dose ionizing radiation, such as CT angiography and
Patients treated by a cardiologist had higher levels of exposure
to radiation than those treated by a general practitioner, the
study authors noted.
During follow-up, there were 12,020 cancers detected among the
patients, with two-thirds of the cancers affecting the
abdomen/pelvis and chest areas.
"We found a relation between the cumulative exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation from cardiac imaging and therapeutic procedures after acute myocardial infarction [heart attack], and the risk of incident cancer," wrote Dr. Louise Pilote, an epidemiology researcher at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center (MUHC) in Montreal, and director of the internal medicine division at MUHC, and colleagues.
"Although most patients were exposed to low or moderate levels of radiation, a substantial group were exposed to high levels and in general tended to be younger male patients with fewer comorbidities [co-existing health problems]," they added.
"These results call into question whether our current enthusiasm for imaging and therapeutic procedures after acute myocardial infarction should be tempered," the researchers concluded. "We should at least consider putting into place a system of prospectively documenting the imaging tests and procedures that each patient undergoes and estimating his or her cumulative exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation."
The study appears in the current issue of the
Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society
of North America outline the
risks and benefits of radiological
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