HEART HEALTH: Many medical test expose patients to radiation - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

HEART HEALTH: Many medical test expose patients to radiation


Radiation is something that we all want to avoid. But, it's something that's necessary in some medical tests.

Matt Breen asked, "There has been talk about increased radiation with medical imaging. Why is that a concern?" Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "The concern is any radiation is associated with some risk particularly developing radiation induced cancer many years later. But before getting any further it is important to understand some basic facts about radiation exposure."

Matt Breen asked, "Is it true that flying in an airplane with expose you to radiation?" Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "Here are some facts about radiation exposure. We are all exposed to cosmic radiation from the space the atmosphere is the main shield that how we can survive. If we use having X-ray of your chest as our baseline unit for radiation exposure, flying round trip between LA and New York is equal of having 1-2 chest x-rays. In average US residents are exposed to 3 miliseverts of radiation that is equal to 75 chest x-rays per year."

Matt Breen asked, "What about cardiac testing, how much radiation are we talking about?" Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "For cardiac testing we use different modalities, including ultrasound, unclear imaging, CT scan and Cardiac MRI. Out of those the nuclear stress test and CT scans are associated with some radiation. So a nuclear stress test or cardiac CT scan will expose a person to 3-4 times the background radiation they will get in a year but that happens of course in a seconds to minutes. Of course there are decades of experience with this amount of radiation that is considered safe for medical use."

Matt Breen asked, "What are we doing to reduce the dose of radiation?" Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "We as physicians should always think of risk and benefits of our diagnostic tests and treatment options. There are no radiating tests available such as ultrasound and MRI. With the population getting more obese however sometimes the best way is to get the necessary information about patients condition is to use something like nuclear stress test or CT scan of the heart or chest. In the recent years our protocols has changed and we are now using 1/3 of the dose for these procedures as compared to just 3-5 years ago. If you have one of these test every few years, it does not increased your risk significantly. The problem is either patients with persistent symptoms that requires multiple tests until we figure out what is wrong."

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