Reduction of Radiation to Children: Our Responsibility to Change
Medical radiation from X-rays and nuclear medicine is the largest man-made source of radiation exposure in Western countries, and accounts for a mean effective dose (ED) of 3.0 milliSievert (mSv) per person per year, equivalent to a radiation dose of 150 chest X-rays. In the USA, cardiologists are responsible for about 40% of the entire cumulative ED to the population from all sources, excluding radiotherapy.1 In pediatric patients with congenital heart disease (CHD), the annual ED is relatively low (< 3 mSv/year), but this extra yearly exposure accrues over the lifetime and can reach high values (> 100 mSv) in selected cohorts of pediatric chronic patients,2 especially those undergoing interventional fluoroscopy procedures and serial CT evaluations.3 The benefits of ionizing imaging in children, especially in those with CHD, are immense and often life-saving, even more so with the advent of invasive fluoroscopy and CT. Yet the use of radiation in children raises special concerns, and offers a unique challenge for the current generation of pediatric cardiologists.
- Received May 6, 2014.
- Accepted May 7, 2014.