Cumulative exposure to medical radiation for children requiring surgery for congenital heart disease

Andrew C. Glatz, Kristen S. Purrington, Amanda Klinger, Amanda R. King, Jeffrey Hellinger, Xiaowei Zhu, Stephen B. Gruber, Peter J. Gruber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Objective To describe cumulative radiation exposure in a large single-center cohort of children with congenital heart disease (CHD) and identify risk factors for greater exposure. Study design A detailed medical radiation exposure history was collected retrospectively for patients aged <18 years who underwent surgery for CHD between January 1, 2001, and July 22, 2009. Cumulative per patient exposure was quantified as the effective dose in millisieverts (mSv) and annualized (mSv/year). Results A total of 4132 patients were subjected to 134 715 radiation examinations at a median follow-up of 4.3 years (range, 0-8.6 years). Exposure clustered around the time of surgery. The median exposure was 14 radiologic tests (the majority of which were plain film radiographs) at an effective dose of 0.96 mSv (the majority of which was from cardiac catheterization), although this distribution had a very wide range. Almost three-quarters (73.7%) were exposed to <3 mSv/year, and 5.3% were exposed to >20 mSv/year. Neonates, children with genetic syndromes, and children requiring surgery for cardiomyopathy, pulmonary valve, single ventricle, or tricuspid valve diseases were more likely to have higher exposure levels, and those requiring surgery for aortic arch anomalies or atrioventricular septal defects were more likely to have lower levels. Conclusion Children with CHD requiring surgery are exposed to numerous medical forms of ionizing radiation. Although the majority of patients receive <3 mSv/year, there are identifiable risk factors for higher exposure levels. This may have important health implications as these patients age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-794.e10
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Cumulative exposure to medical radiation for children requiring surgery for congenital heart disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this