Sophisticated Chest Scans in Children: Increased Risk of Heart Disease

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Cutting edge technology used to image young children with heart disease increases their risk of cancer.

Children who have imaging tests for heart problems have higher cancer risks over their lifetime, a new study says.


These tests, which include cardiac catheterization and CT scans, are more complex than standard X-rays, and expose kids to higher doses of radiation than X-rays do, researchers at Duke University Medical Center explained.

"There are definitely times when radiation is necessary, but it's important for parents to ask and compare in case you can avert potentially high-exposure procedures. Often, there are alternative or modified procedures with less radiation, or imaging may not actually be necessary," study author Dr. Kevin Hill, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the cardiology division at Duke, said in an American Heart Association news release.


The study, published June 9 in the journal , involved 337 children under the age of 6. All had undergone surgery for heart disease at Duke. The researchers explained that they focused on children with heart disease because they generally have more imaging tests than other young patients.

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Source: MedlinePlus