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Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2010 Nov 15;76(6):826-34. doi: 10.1002/ccd.22670.

Risk for radiation-induced cataract for staff in interventional cardiology: is there reason for concern?

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Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Belgrade, Serbia.



To examine the prevalence of radiation-associated lens opacities among interventional cardiologists and nurses and correlate with occupational radiation exposure.


Interventional cardiology personnel are exposed to relatively high levels of X-rays and based on recent findings of radiation-associated lens opacities in other cohorts, they may be at risk for cataract without use of ocular radiation protection.


Eyes of interventional cardiologists, nurses, and age- and sex-matched unexposed controls were screened by dilated slit lamp examination and posterior lens changes graded using a modified Merriam-Focht technique. Individual cumulative lens X-ray exposure was calculated from responses to a questionnaire and personal interview.


The prevalence of radiation-associated posterior lens opacities was 52% (29/56, 95% CI: 35-73) for interventional cardiologists, 45% (5/11, 95% CI: 15-100) for nurses, and 9% (2/22, 95% CI: 1-33) for controls. Relative risks of lens opacity was 5.7 (95% CI: 1.5-22) for interventional cardiologists and 5.0 (95% CI: 1.2-21) for nurses. Estimated cumulative ocular doses ranged from 0.01 to 43 Gy with mean and median values of 3.4 and 1.0 Gy, respectively. A strong dose-response relationship was found between occupational exposure and the prevalence of radiation-associated posterior lens changes.


These findings demonstrate a dose dependent increased risk of posterior lens opacities for interventional cardiologists and nurses when radiation protection tools are not used. While study of a larger cohort is needed to confirm these findings, the results suggest ocular radio-protection should be utilized.

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