Furthermore, high radiation exposure during pregnancy increases fetal risks. Surveys show that many women cardiologists lack knowledge about their department’s policies on radiation exposure during pregnancy. This lack of standardization extends to radiation safety practices and protective strategies in general. Therefore, it is crucial for all cardiologists to receive comprehensive education on radiation at various stages of their career. This knowledge is essential for planning protection, particularly for women in cardiology who experience higher risks in pregnancy and developing radiation-induced cancer.
Higher Radiation-Induced Cancer Risk
- Lung cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Breast cancer
Although men can develop breast cancer, it is exceptionally rare, and the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer in men is very low. As individuals age, the risk of radiation-related health issues decreases for both sexes.
Fetal Risks of High Radiation Exposure During Pregnancy
1. Pregnancy Loss
In cases of extremely high radiation exposure, there is an increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. Severe damage to the developing fetus may lead to pregnancy loss.
High levels of radiation exposure can increase the risk of structural abnormalities in the developing fetus. These malformations can affect different organs or body systems, leading to birth defects.
3. Disturbances of growth or development
Radiation exposure can interfere with the normal growth and development of the fetus, leading to growth restriction within the uterus. This can result in low birth weight and potential long-term health consequences.
4. Increased Risk of Cancer
Prenatal exposure to high levels of radiation can raise the risk of childhood cancer in the offspring. The type and likelihood of cancer depend on the specific organs or tissues affected by the radiation.
The threshold for these risks is not clearly defined, and the level of radiation exposure that poses a significant danger to the fetus can vary. Therefore, the focus should be on minimizing occupational exposure by understanding radiation physics, using shielding and protective wear, and being aware of positioning and equipment orientation when working in the catheterization lab.
Scatter Matters for Everyone