Radiation Risk Estimates for Artery Screening Developed

Risk of cancer can be weighed against benefits of coronary artery calcification test in future

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- The cancer risk attributable to radiation doses as a result of using multi-detector computed tomography (CT) to screen for coronary artery calcification has been calculated, and can be compared against screening benefits estimates, once that information becomes available, to devise strategies for screening and prevention of coronary artery disease, according to a study published in the July 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Kwang Pyo Kim, Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues calculated radiation doses from the available protocols for multi-detector CT screening and derived cancer risk odds using data from Japanese atomic bomb survivors, and people who had been medically exposed to radiation.

There was a 10-fold variation between protocols in the radiation dose from a single CT scan for the screening of coronary artery calcification and there was a corresponding wide variation in cancer risk, the researchers found. If men are screened every five years from 45 to 75 years of age and women screened from 55 to 75 years of age with a median dose of radiation, there would be an additional 42 cases of cancer per 100,000 men and 62 cases per 100,000 women, the investigators estimated.

"Many technical factors influence radiation dose from coronary artery calcification measurement with multi-detector CT," the authors write. "Careful optimization of these factors may reduce radiation exposure without detriment to the clinical purpose of the screening examination."

An author of the study reported a financial relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.

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