Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lifetime cancer risk from heart imaging low for most children, but rises with more complex tests

Date:
June 9, 2014
Source:
Duke Medicine
Summary:
Children with heart disease are exposed to low levels of radiation during X-rays, which do not significantly raise their lifetime cancer risk. However, children who undergo repeated complex imaging tests that deliver higher doses of radiation may have a slightly increased lifetime risk of cancer, according to researchers.

Children with heart disease are exposed to low levels of radiation during X-rays, which do not significantly raise their lifetime cancer risk. However, children who undergo repeated complex imaging tests that deliver higher doses of radiation may have a slightly increased lifetime risk of cancer, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.

Related Articles


The findings, published June 9, 2014, in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, represent the largest study of cumulative radiation doses in children with heart disease and associated predictions of lifetime cancer risk.

Children with heart disease frequently undergo imaging tests, including X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans and cardiac catheterization procedures. The number of imaging studies patients are exposed to depends on the complexity of their disease, with more serious heart conditions typically requiring more testing.

Although children benefit from advanced imaging procedures for more accurate diagnosis and less invasive treatment, the increase in radiation has potential health risks.

"In general, the benefits of imaging far outweigh the risks of radiation exposure, which on a per study basis are low," said senior author Kevin D. Hill, M.D., M.S., an interventional cardiologist and assistant professor of pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine.

"We know that each of these individual tests carries a small amount of risk, but for patients who get frequent studies as part of their care, we wanted to better understand the risk associated with repeated exposure."

Hill and his colleagues studied a group of 337 children ages six and younger who had one or more surgeries for heart disease from 2005 to 2010. During the five-year study period, the children received an average of 17 imaging tests each as part of their medical care before and after their surgeries.

In order to estimate the amount of radiation delivered in the tests, the researchers used a combination of existing data on radiation levels, as well as simulations that calculated radiation doses using child-sized "phantoms," or models to estimate radiation exposure.

The researchers found that most children had low exposure to radiation, amounting to less than the annual background exposure in the United States. However, certain groups of children, particularly those with more complex heart disease, were exposed to higher cumulative doses from repeated tests and high-exposure imaging.

Abdominal and chest X-rays accounted for 92 percent of the imaging tests, but only 19 percent of the radiation exposure. Advanced imaging (CT and catheterization) made up only 8 percent of imaging tests performed, but accounted for 81 percent of radiation exposure.

The researchers estimated the average increase in lifetime cancer risk to be 0.07 percent, with the risk increase ranging from 0.002 percent for chest X-rays to 0.4 percent for complex imaging.

"Clinicians need to weigh the risks and benefits of different imaging studies, including those with higher radiation exposure," Hill said. "We're not proposing eliminating complex imaging -- in fact, they're critically important to patients -- but we can make significant improvements by prioritizing tests and simply recognizing the importance of reducing radiation exposure in children."

The researchers also noted that lifetime cancer risk was increased among girls and children who had imaging tests done at very young ages. Girls had double the cancer risk of boys because of their increased chances of developing breast and thyroid cancers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. N. Johnson, C. Hornik, J. S. Li, D. K. Benjamin, T. Yoshizumi, R. E. Reiman, D. P. Frush, K. D. Hill. Cumulative Radiation Exposure and Cancer Risk Estimation in Children with Heart Disease. Circulation, 2014; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.005425

Cite This Page:

Duke Medicine. "Lifetime cancer risk from heart imaging low for most children, but rises with more complex tests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140609161610.htm>.
Duke Medicine. (2014, June 9). Lifetime cancer risk from heart imaging low for most children, but rises with more complex tests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140609161610.htm
Duke Medicine. "Lifetime cancer risk from heart imaging low for most children, but rises with more complex tests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140609161610.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins