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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Mar 3;65(8):820-826. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.11.056.

Occupational health hazards of working in the interventional laboratory: a multisite case control study of physicians and allied staff.

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Division of Cardiovascular Disease, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Department of Biostatistics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Division of Cardiovascular Disease, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. Electronic address:



The occupational hazards of working in the interventional laboratory have been inadequately studied for physicians and remain unaddressed for nonphysician personnel.


This study sought to determine whether the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal pain, cancer, and other medical conditions is higher among physicians and allied staff who work in interventional laboratories compared with employees who do not.


Mayo Clinic employees who work in affiliated hospitals with interventional cardiology or interventional radiology laboratories took an electronic survey. Results were stratified on the basis of self-reported occupational exposure to procedures that involve radiation.


There were 1,543 employees (mean age 43 ± 11.3 years, 33% male) who responded to the survey (response rate of 57%), and 1,042 (67.5%) reported being involved with procedures utilizing radiation. These employees reported experiencing work-related pain more often than the control group before (54.7% vs. 44.7%; p < 0.001) and after adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, pre-existing musculoskeletal conditions, years in profession, and job description (odds ratio: 1.67; 95% confidence interval: 1.32 to 2.11; p < 0.001). Musculoskeletal pain varied significantly by job description, with the highest incidence reported by technicians (62%) and nurses (60%) followed by attending physicians (44%) and trainees (19%; p < 0.001). There was no difference in cancer prevalence between groups (9% vs. 9%; p = 0.96).


Musculoskeletal pain is more common among healthcare workers who participate in interventional procedures and is highest in nonphysician employees. The diagnosis of cancer in employees who participate in procedures that utilize radiation was not elevated when compared to controls within the same departments, although any conclusion regarding causality is limited by the cross-sectional nature of the study, as well as the low overall prevalence of malignancy in our study group.


interventional laboratory; musculoskeletal pain; radiation safety

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