Link between tumors and radiation exposure

Reports of a Possible Causal Link between Brain, Head, and Neck Tumors and Radiation Exposure during Coronary Interventional Procedures: A Sobering Look at the Data

Authors: Reeves, Ryan R.; Mahmud, Ehtisham

Radiation exposure is a hazard for patients and physicians during fluoroscopically-guided procedures. Invasive cardiologists are exposed to high levels of scatter radiation and both increasing procedural complexity and higher operator volumes contribute to exposure above recommended thresholds. Standard shielding does not offer sufficient protection to the head and neck region and the potential for negative biological, subclinical, and clinical effects exists. Large population studies suggest that cranial exposure to low dose radiation increases the risks of tumor development. In addition, modest doses of therapeutic cranial radiation have been linked with the development of brain cancer. Although a causal association between scatter radiation in the cath lab and brain cancer does not currently exist, given the known detrimental effects of radiation exposure to the head and neck region support a focus on potential methods of protection for both the patient and the operator.