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Study of Mortality in Radiologists and Physicians Performing Fluoroscopically-guided Interventional Procedures

The introduction and dramatic growth in the use of  fluoroscopically–guided interventional (FGI) procedures over the past few decades transformed clinical practice and has provided tremendous benefits to patients over conventional surgery. However, the complexity of these procedures, combined with increasing workloads for the medical staff who perform or assist with them, have raised concerns about occupational radiation exposure and associated long-term health risks.  A large cohort of physicians likely to have performed FGI procedures was assembled from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile; this included physicians with a primary or secondary specialty of interventional cardiology, cardiac electrophysiology, or other cardiovascular specialties; vascular and interventional radiology; and endovascular surgical neuroradiology or neuroradiology (hereafter designated neuroradiology). Physicians unlikely to have been exposed to radiation were used as the comparison group. The cohort was linked with the National Death Index to ascertain causes of death through the year 2008. 

In summary, compared to non-exposed male physicians, male physicians who performed FGI procedures had lower risks of death overall and from most cancers and other causes. However, leukemia mortality was elevated among those who graduated from medical school before 1940, when occupational exposures were likely much higher than in more recent decades. No increased risks were observed for female physicians performing FGI procedures, but the number of female physician specialists was too small to examine these associations in detail.  

These findings were published in Radiology in 2017.

For more information, contact Cari Kitahara.

Radiation Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas

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